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Children's Literature Reviews
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All the stars in the sky : the Santa Fe trail diary of Florrie Mack Ryder
by Megan McDonald.
Publisher description
New York : Scholastic, 2003.
188 p. : ill. ; 20 cm.


A girl's diary records the year 1848 during which she, her brother, mother, and stepfather traveled the Santa Fe trail from Independence, Missouri, to Santa Fe.

Best Books:

Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, Supplement, 2005 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Children's Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Middle and Junior High School Library Catalog, Ninth Edition, 2005 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Middle and Junior High School Library Catalog, Supplement to the Eighth Edition, 2004 ; H.W. Wilson; United States

Curriculum Tools:

Link to Discussion Guides at Scholastic

Reading Measurement Programs:

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Middle Grade
Book Level 5.3
Accelerated Reader Points 5
Accelerated Vocabulary

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.
Lexile Measure 840

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 6-8
Reading Level 6
Title Point Value 10
Lexile Measure 840


Marya Jansen-Gruber (Children's Literature)
Florrie is having a hard time leaving everything she has ever known behind. Her best friend, her grandparents, even the grave of her father, must all remain in Arrow Rock Missouri. Florrie, her younger brother Jem, her mother, and her mother's new husband, Mr. Ryder, are going to travel down the Santa Fe Trail to begin a new life in New Mexico, in the town of Santa Fe. Unlike the Oregon Trail and others that went towards the West Coast, the Santa Fe Trail was used mostly by traders rather than by settlers. Nevertheless, it is still a grueling journey, and Florrie witnesses more than her fair share of suffering and hardship. During her journey she makes friendships that come to mean a great deal to her and that sustain her. We are drawn into the story as Florrie and her family battle their way down the trial and we are charmed by Florrie's likable and determined personality. Florrie sees things with a clarity that can be quite startling at times, even with regards to herself. For example, she comments sadly early in the journey, "I feel lost. Like a stick figure drawn in the dust, erased by wagon tracks." Later she remarks "I am lonely and have fallen under the cloud of my own bad weather." Written in a style that suggests Florrie's own speech, the author has created a wonderful character and has gone to great lengths to study the times and the people she wrote about. Her inclusion of Spanish words, as Florrie begins to learn the language, is a particularly effective device. Both sad and at times humorous, Florrie's story gives us a thought-provoking picture of a time and place not often written about. 2003, Scholastic, $10.95. Ages 12 up.

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2003 (Vol. 71, No. 16))
Unlike the Oregon Trail that carried emigrants and adventurers to new lives in the West, the Santa Fe Trail carried traders to the New Mexico Territory, following a route first blazed by buffalo herds. Few women made the trek, though this account draws on an actual diary kept by 18-year-old Susan Magoffin in 1846. Fictional Florrie Mack Ryder, who turns 13 on her journey from Independence, Missouri, to Santa Fe, describes the wonders of prairies, shooting stars, snowcapped mountains, Indians, and encounters with rattlesnakes, badgers, mosquitoes, and tarantulas. She learns new Spanish words, eats tortillas made with blue corn, and finds much to like about her new home. In this solid entry in the Dear America series, McDonald infuses Florrie's story with detailed descriptions of the landscape, wildflowers, and animals as well as the new culture Florrie joins. A companionable narrator, Florrie is astute enough not only to report what is new to her, but how different she must appear to others. She's a heroine readers will enjoy joining on her travels. (historical note) 2003, Scholastic, $10.95. Category: Fiction. Ages 9 to 13. © 2003 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.


Dear America


Frontier and pioneer life--Southwest, New Fiction.
Overland journeys to the Pacific Fiction.
Pioneers Fiction.
Santa Fe National Historic Trail Juvenile fiction.
Santa Fe National Historic Trail Fiction.
LanguageCall NumberLCCNDewey DecimalISBN/ISSN
English (eng) PZ7.M478419 Al 2003
2002044579 [Fic]
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