Wagon Wheels (I Can Read)

by Barbara Brenner

Paperback, 1984



Call number




HarperCollins (1984), Edition: Illustrated, 64 pages


Shortly after the Civil War a black family travels to Kansas to take advantage of the free land offered through the Homestead Act.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Janeece
This book is about how the settlers had to live when they were moving across the land and tells a lot about life in the dugouts.

I didn't really like the story behind the book whrer they were leaving the boys behind i dont think i would have this book in my class room.

As a classroom extension I am
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goin to have my students study dug outs. Then we are going to draw what we think a dugout would lokk like.
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LibraryThing member danielleshorr
Chapter book
Grade: 2-5
Historical fiction
Wagon Wheels by Barbra Brenner is a very engaging and emotional children's chapter book. I think the book did a great job of depicting how difficult life really was for pioneers settling in the west. Brenner begins the book by writing, "We had
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come a long way to get to Kansas. All the way from Kentucky. It had been a hard trip, and a sad one. Mama died on the way. Now there were just the four of us- Daddy, Willie, Little Brother, and me" ( Brenner, 8). I knew from this point that this was going to be an emotional story, and it was. The author did an excellent job of depicting the emotions of the characters. Another aspect that I enjoyed about this book were the illustrations. Many chapter books do not use illustrations, but this one did, and it really added to the story. Most of the illustrations were small and at the bottom of the page, but they were colorful and gave me a better sense of what it looked like out west. During one part of the book, the small family was weathering the harsh Kansas winter in their underground dugout. They ran out of food and firewood, "Then one day there was no more cornmeal. There was not a lick of food in the whole town of Nicodemus. And nothing left to burn for firewood. Little Brother cried all the time- he was so cold and hungry. Daddy wrapped blankets around him. "Hush, baby son," he said to him. "Try to sleep. Supply train will be coming soon. But the supply train did not come. Not that day or the next" (Brenner, 21). The picture on that page was dreary and desperate looking. It helped me as a reader to understand the seriousness of the family's situation. I really enjoyed reading this book and feel that it taught me a quite bit about life as a pioneer.
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LibraryThing member schendo
There are four chapters in this book. It is a narrative told by a young boy who is traveling with his family across the United States from Kentucky to Kansas in a wagon. It is based on a true story and explains what it was like to live during this time in the country. It is an easy read for a young
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reader to get into on their own. The pictures pair nicely with the text and keep the reader interested in what will happen next.
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Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

9 inches



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