Sunday, July 29, 2012

West to a Land of Plenty

Time's fun when you're having flies!  Whoops, sorry--guess I've been hanging out around the local frogs too much lately :)  I meant to say, Time flies when you're having fun!  Here's this week's review.
Keep reading,

Title:  West to a Land of Plenty:  The Diary of Teresa Angelino Viscardi
Author:  Jim Murphy
Setting:  New York to Idaho Territory, 1883
Target Audience:  Middle School
Approximate Independent Reading Level:  8th

Summary:  Teresa and her family are Italians living in New York with several other Italian families on their street.  "Poppa" has come home and announced that they will be leaving their home in New York to go to Idaho territory, where they will be able to get a large plot of land and farm it.  Also, they will not be looked down on as they are in New York.  Teresa is very upset about leaving her home and her friends, and she writes in her diary at the suggestion of her teacher.  Her younger sister Antoinetta, who goes by Netta, also writes in the diary sometimes.  The trail is long and hard, with many sicknesses and dangers.  Several people decide not to continue or die along the way.  Teresa's (almost) daily story shows how the journey changes her and others.

Review: Another book in the "Dear America" series, this book is again written in a diary format.  Teresa's arguing with Netta is comparable to the sibling rivalry in most families.  Teresa uses a few Italian words, but they are close enough to the American to be determined from context.  Different typesets are used to make it easy to determine whether the writing is Teresa's diary entry or something else (Netta's diary entry or a letter that Teresa pasted into the diary.  I think the book is well-written in Teresa's voice (and others when appropriate), including spelling and grammatical errors.  The use of historical fiction makes this time period in America's interesting.
**** 4 stars

Happy reading, y'all!

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