Covered Wagons, Bumpy Trails
by Verla Kay & S.D. Schindler
lesson plan ideas, topics covered, and more

Covered Wagons, Bumpy Trails

In Covered Wagons, Bumpy Trails, Kay and Schindler take readers along with mother, father, and baby John as they head west on the pioneer trail to California. A rhyming tale of four lines per page, the story starts out full of optimism and high spirits but becomes more markedly less so as the arduous journey continues.  Kay's verses capture the range of emotions along the way, but impressively retain a sense of optimism and hopeful anticipation. School Library Journal called this book "a riveting story about courage, endurance, and optimism." 

We are big fans of Verla Kay. In fact, we have every book she has written on this site! (I think.) She has such a fantastic way of translating events in American history into kid-friendly, fun but educational picture books. We hope there are many more to come from this great author. (And she always pairs up with such talented illustrators too!)

We've created a fun activity for enhancing the learning while reading this book. To see the activity, please click here: Covered Wagons, Bumpy Trails lesson/activity ideas. And if you have a related lesson idea or activity, please let us know so we can add it to the list.

Covered Wagons, Bumpy Roads
Reading Stats
Interest Level: Gr. 1-4       DRA Level: n/a
Reading Level: age 4-8      Lexile Measure: n/a

Topics Covered     pioneer experiences (history)

Awards & Rating
Average Customer Rating:5 stars (3 reviews)

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A Peek Inside
Here is the first spread in the book, in which the family is just heading out on the pioneer trail. As with all Verla Kay books, the rhyming text is fun and bouncy and packed with historical details.  

Covered Wagons, Bumpy Trails

Covered WagonsSchindler's watercolor and gouache paintings are brilliant! At right is another page from a spread inside this book. In fact, almost all of the pages are double-page spreads, creating beautiful panoramas that capture the setting and drama of the voyage.
Schindler strikes a nice balance, keeping the illustrations kid friendly through whimsical characters but also creating vistas and settings that are educational, accurate and stunning. Of course, you have to see them full size to really appreciate it.

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