Read Wagon Wheels by Barbara Brenner Don Bolognese Online


Free people,Free landThe Muldie boys and their father have come a long way to Kansas. But when Daddy moves on, the three boys must begin their own journey. They must learn to care for one another and face the dangers of the wilderness alone....

Title : Wagon Wheels
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780064440523
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 64 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Wagon Wheels Reviews

  • Nicola Mansfield
    2019-06-24 20:42

    I really like this story and find it very unique in its choice of topic. Here we have a tale of black pioneers heading west to settle on free land being offered by the government. Based on the real life story of the Muldie boys, whose story was chronicled in a local teacher's journal from the town of Nicodemus. The book runs chronologically and tells of the hardships of the pioneers traveling this way, dugouts, harsh winter, an encounter with Indians and prairie fires. The boy's father being a carpenter and not a farmer though must move further on to the forested land and at this point he leaves the three boys (11, 8, and 3) to fend for themselves with the aid of the neighbours. Now this is a true account and I've read plenty of such circumstances happening, children were a hardy breed back then. But this being an easy reader, the author does not make this transition well by omitting any logical explanation for the modern child reader to comprehend these circumstances. This may be frightening to young readers who are reading beyond their age range. The author's note at the end does explain a bit better. This is the only reason I give 4stars rather than five. I am keeping this one for my collection until I find an original hardcover; I have a concern with the illustrations being re-copyrighted by Bolognese in 1993 though making me wonder if they were slightly "updated" anywhere. Looking forward to being able to compare the two. A great reader though of frontier life from both the black-family and Osage Indian point of view.

  • midnightfaerie
    2019-06-08 15:02

    A book my 6 yr old loved, a little old for my preschoolers. A solid reading level 3 book, this reader has a good amount of advanced vocabulary words, but not so long that it discourages a new reader. Used it for his read out loud book, which was perfect. It took about 15 mins for him to read and had just enough new vocabulary words to make it challenging. Also, it was a fun and interesting story he could get into. Educational as well. A great story to go along with a lesson on pioneers! Great reading book!

  • Cassandra Gelvin
    2019-06-17 15:39

    Child endangerment in the 1870s.Based on a true story. One wonders how much the story changed in the telling, as it apparently took place in 1878 and it's documented in the memoirs of somebody else who wasn't involved in the story.It's a rather long book. You could read it to a child, but it would probably take a few days.It's a story about a family of black pioneers, with a father and three kids, age 11, 8, and 3. Apparently their mother died on the way to Kansas from Kentucky. When they get to Kansas, it's almost winter and everybody lives in holes in the ground, with roofs made of grass and branches. It freezes and they run out of food, and then some Indians come and give them food. When spring comes, their father says, "You know what, I don't like it here. I'm gonna go somewhere else. You three stay here by yourselves. I'll write you and tell you where to go later." And then four or five months later, their father sends them a letter saying, "Okay, I'm 150 miles away. Kids, make your way 150 miles to me. By yourselves." And they do, taking a small wooden wagon that contains all of their possessions, and making the 3-year-old walk as much as possible so they don't have to carry him. At the end, they make it to their father and the book ends.So it's a fictionalized account of a story that somebody told about somebody else. Again, I wonder how much of that is accurate. I'm not saying for sure it's inaccurate, but tales do change in the telling and retelling. It's definitely not something somebody would do today. It's just a cruel thing to abandon an 11, 8, and 3 year old to fend for themselves, especially in a very small town where everybody is living in holes in the ground in the middle of the wilderness, and then make them walk 150 miles alone through largely unsettled lands. Man, I guess being an 11-year-old was different 150 years ago. They had to hunt for their own food and everything.As a historical story, it's useful, and it has a happy ending and everything since nobody dies or gets hurt, but it's just kind of callous how the father treats the children.Message: Children in the 1870s had pretty stark lives. Or, persistence is important.For more children's book reviews, see my website at

  • Emily
    2019-06-25 12:41

    1. Categories/Genres: Easy Reader/historic fictional2. Copyright date: 1978, 19933. Estimate of age level of interest: grades K-34. Estimate of reading level: 2.65. Brief description: This is based on a true story of three Muldie sons who travel with their widowed father to Kansas, where there is free land available to settle. They face the dangers of pioneer life. 6. Identify at least 2 characteristics of this genre and subgenre and discuss how they appear in your book. -Historical fiction will help students understand human problems and relationships. This book shows how families and communities support each other and discusses how differences in cultures can be beneficial.-Historical fiction portray the life of a certain time period. Students reading Wagon Wheels will see what it was like settling the west under the Homestead Act, living in a dugout throughout a brutal winter, and interacting with the Osage Native American tribe.7. In what ways and how well does the book as a whole serve its intended audience? Emergent readers: This book has large print, wide spacing, and strong picture support. There are four short chapters to this book, which serve perfectly in introduce children to the chapter book format. It is an exciting story for kids: introducing the land grants of Westward Expansion, the kindness of Native Americans, and what life is like during pioneer times without a mother. The story is suspenseful, and the pictures will help children understand the plot even if they are unable to read every word.One concern, though... I would like to talk with someone who know more than me about how to handle the Native American representation here. The word "Indian" is used, and the family is afraid of the Native Americans. There is, though, a positive outcome and discussion; I'm not sure that balances the representation.8. Awards: None9. Citations for published reviews from professional sources:Book Links, 11/01/97Bulletin of the Center for Children's BooksChild Study Children's Book Committee, 1995Elementary School Library Collection, 03/01/98Kirkus ReviewsNew York TimesSchool Library JournalWilson's Children, 10/01/10

  • Laura
    2019-06-17 19:53

    Recently freed man Ed Muldie and his family set out from Kentucky to claim land under the Homestead Act. On the way to Kansas, his wife passes away, leaving him with his three sons to raise alone. Once the small family arrives, they must make shelter quickly because winter is coming quickly.The town they've settled in, Nicodemus, is inhabited by other freed African Americans. They work together and are doing well until the winter goes on too long for the stores of food and wood they have. An unlikely ally comes to their rescue so they all survive the harsh weather.Mr. Muldie must leave to find better land for farming so he leaves his three children in Nicodemus, telling them he will send a letter with instructions as to how to find him once he is settled. The three young boys do as he asks, the older two watching their three year old brother. After months of waiting, a letter arrives via pony express. Their father has settled and gives the boys a map to follow. The three boys, ages eleven, eight and three make the one hundred and fifty mile trek to reach their father. Needless to say, he is elated to see them and reunited as a family once again.This is an I Can Read book, grade level second through fourth. It is an interesting, historical account of real people. Barbara Brenner's research is in part gleaned from well documented memoirs of Lulu Sadler Craig, who spent most of her life in Nicodemus. I loved the historical importance of Wagon Wheels. It is an easy to understand book, so very appropriate for the age group. The illustrations are well done, assisting with the telling of the Muldie Family's story.

  • Danna
    2019-06-18 12:48

    Based on a true story of an African American family who travel to start a new life after living in slavery. My students were enthralled with the idea that an 11, 8, and 3 year old could live on their own and travel 150 miles to meet their father at their new home. Kids in the 1800's were tough!

  • Anna Keating
    2019-06-21 14:42

    A true story about kids who are brave, resilient, watch out for one another, and work incredibly hard. Love it.

  • Sara Check
    2019-06-20 19:45

    1.Historical fiction, picture book.2.After the Civil War, follow the Muldie boys and their father to Kansas to find free land through the Homestead Act. 3.A. This easy reader is just that, an easy read especially for beginner readers. Barbara Brenner uses appropriate language, varied sentence length and structure as well as short chapters to engage young readers. All of these along with the rugged, colorful illustrations transport the reader into a harsh but hopeful time in our country.B. The greatest aspect of Wagon Wheels is the language and sentence structure to appeal to young readers. Getting students and children interested in history and the past is difficult but Barbara Brenner created a story that makes you want to turn the page to find out what happens next. This is due to how easy it is to read. Through this 63 page story, 61 pages are illustrated to help decode the text and visualize this story for the reader.C.On pages 14 and 15, the three boys and their father begin to make their ‘home’ in the Kansas prairie. “It wasn’t much of a place—dirt floor, dirt walls, no windows. And the roof was just grass and branches. But we were glad to have a dugout when the wind began to whistle across the prairie” (14-15). Easy decodable text accompanied by a picture on the bottom of the page translates to the reader how these families lived in dugouts in the ground for harsh winters. At the end of the story, the three boys ventured out to find their father who had found better land to settle on. “We walked along the trail. It led up a hill. On the side of the hill we saw a little house with a garden in front. We could see corn growing. A man came out of the house. When he saw us, he began to run towards us” (58-59). These well formed sentences with appropriate language do not intimidate readers and makes them want to keep turning the page.4.Curriculum Connection- Wonderful introduction to chapter books with short chapters that can be accompanied with comprehension questions. Great for guided reading!

  • Gertrude
    2019-05-28 15:57

    Historical FictionThis book is about a family who travelled from Kentuchky to Kansas to get a free land. The three boys and their father begin to make their home in Kansas praire. It wasn't much of a place - dirt floor, dirt walls, no windows. And the roof was just grass and branches. They were glad to have a dugout when the wind began to whistle across the praires. The family live in dugout in the ground for harsh winter. In the winter, the Indians came to help them with food, when they were out of food and hay to burn to keep them warm.In the Spring their father let the children in Kanses to find a better job.They had a letter from their father asking them to come. At the end of the story,the three boys venutured out to find their father who had found a better land to settle on. They walked along the trail, and it let them up a hill. On the other side they a saw a little house with a garden in front. They could see corn growing. A man came out of the house when he saw them, he began to run toward them. It was their father, he hug, kiss, talk, cry ,laugh and sing in which the people of Nicodemus heard them. As they sang, Mr. Sadler said the boys have found their father.This book is colorful,and it has a lot of illustration to help decode the text and visualized the story for the reader.This story is good for young readers and adult. I recommend this book for every school to learn something about a father who left his three children to look for a job without their mother. These boys stayed together until they decided to look for their father.

  • Becky
    2019-05-28 17:46

    First sentence: "There it is, boys" Daddy said. "Across this river is Nicodemus, Kansas. That is where we are going to build our house. There is free land for everyone here in the West. All we have to do is go and get it."Premise/plot: Wagon Wheels is an early chapter book based on a true story. Set in the late 1870s, the book follows the adventures of the Muldie family as they settle in Kansas. First the family settles in Nicodemus, Kansas, a black community. Then the father leaves the boys behind and searches for a better place to settle down and call home, this time near Solomon City. The boys--all on their own--travel to rejoin their father. (The father disliked the flat land and missed trees and hills.) The book is narrated by Johnny, one of four boys being raised by a widower. The text is simple, and the action is straight-forward. Though simple, it was packed with just the right amount of detail. This book is much, much shorter than any of the Little House books, but, it is just as vivid. My thoughts: I really liked this one. The edition I picked up is all black-and-white illustrations. I could not tell based on the cover alone that it was a black pioneer family. So I was very pleasantly surprised when I started reading the text to find some diversity. The family--and the community--are saved from starvation by the generosity of Indians--Osage, I believe. Unlike the Little House books, the Indians are portrayed positively. Yes, they are referred to as "Indians" but not savages or redskins or the like.

  • Asho
    2019-06-11 20:46

    My four-year-old picked this out at the library without giving it much thought (which is how he is picking most of his books lately; I tell him it's time to go and he should choose his books, and he basically just grabs the first thing to catch his eye/whatever is closest to him). We read it at bedtime tonight, and his reaction afterwards was, "Wow, that was a long one!" I probably should have read just a couple of chapters, but he usually presses me to read the whole book, so I powered through. It did hold his attention throughout. There's a chapter about a prairie fire that concerned him a bit--the dad has gone away to look for a new home at that point, so my son wanted clarification that the dad was in a place where the fire couldn't get him. I also skipped over the sentence where it explained that the mother had died. My son took it at face value that it was just a father and his three sons and didn't ask any questions about the lack of a mother. Overall I'd say my son was moderately interested in this book. We'll see if he asks to hear it again. I, on the other hand, was very interested in it as a book that references a piece of history about which I know very little. It's based on a true story of free blacks who settled in Kansas as part of the Homestead Act. I'd be interested in reading historical fiction for adults featuring these or similar characters.

  • ABC
    2019-06-10 14:50

    This is hard to rate, because the moment that they said that the mom was dead, ds did not like the book. However, he listened to all of it. Even though this is an easy to read book, it has difficult themes. However, a note at the end says it is a true story.The story: In chapter one, the book tells us three boys live with their dad and their mom is dead. In chapter two, they have run out of food and wood, but Indians bring them some more. After that the father tells the boy he must leave to find new land, but they will meet again. So the father leaves and the boys live on their own. There is a big fire and they jump in a lake to survive. Finally they get a note with a map from their dad. He tells them to follow the map and come to his new home. So they travel many miles and finally reach their dad.

  • Lisa Overberg
    2019-06-11 13:43

    This story, illustrated by Don Bolognese, tells of the difficulties faced by families who sought to obtain free land and settle in the West under the Homestead Act. Readers learn early in the story that the mother has already died as they journeyed from Kentucky. After surviving a long winter in Kansas with the help of Osage Indians, the father leaves his three boys alone to hunt, fish, and take care of each other while he travels further west to find fertile land. He sends a letter and map via pony rider, instructing the boys to follow the river to the deer trail. The boys face many dangers along the way, which will keep young readers engaged and interested.Genre: Historical fictionReading level: 3.5Grade level: 2-4Lexile: 350L

  • Kristin
    2019-06-13 14:00

    The genre of this book is historical fiction and is intended for children ages (P) five to eight. This book is actually based on a true story. It is about a family who traveled from Kentucky to Kansas to try to get free land by the Homestead Act. You learn about how the family traveled, their losses, and how the Indians helped them to survive. It's a great book to teach children about the Homestead Act, and how families moved to the West in order to get free land. Children probably won't find the pictures that appealing, but it is a great book for them to learn new historical information. The language used is easy for a child to understand, and in the back of the book, it tells about the true story that this book is based on.

  • Kathryn Reeder
    2019-06-06 19:02

    This book is about an African American family who traveled west to for free land. They first stopped in Kansas where the three children were left and the father went out west to look for good land with trees to build his house. While in Kansas during the winter the people ran out of food and were starving but a tribe of Native American’s brought food and left it in the snow for them. Their father sent word for them and the three boys traveled 150 miles to get back to their father. Most of the information in this book is factual. It was interesting to me because most pioneer books are not from the point of view of an African American so I liked that as well as the fact that the Indian tribe really did help them. Good book!

  • Tishandra Mayfield
    2019-05-26 19:38

    Barbara Brenner is a respected, award-winning author, specializing in both juvenile fiction and non-fiction educational materials that deals with animals, nature, and ecology. Her interests range from the natural world (Think about Ants) to American history (Wagon Wheels), all of which are reflected in the wide scope of her work. One of her best-selling titles was Wagon Wheels, which deals with the trials and tribulations of a close-knit African American family. This book was named an American Library Association Notable Book in 1978.

  • Books Kids Like
    2019-06-02 18:54

    When a black man moves his family from Kentucky to Kansas, the mother dies along the way. The father and his three sons arrive in Nicodemus just in time to build themselves a soddie and hunker down for the winter. Food gets scarce, but the town is saved when a group of Indians bring them deer, fish, beans, and squash. In the spring, the boys watch as their father leaves to find a real piece of farmland where they can build a proper home. This books tells Ed Muldie's story. The boys did stay alone in the soddie, and, then, they traveled 150 miles to reunite with their father.

  • papay sesay
    2019-06-01 13:40

    This book is about a family named the Muldie family. They were slaves in Kentucky so they had an idea of moving from Kentucky to Kansas. When they were crossing the river of Kansas their mother died so they had to keep moving. When they reached Nicodemus there were no trees. It was all grass. They saw a man named Mr.Hickman. Mr. Hickman helped Ed Muldie and his three sons dig a dugout for the winter.

  • Phuong Dao
    2019-06-15 14:54

    I really enjoyed this book because it is about the three father and son who tried to make it to another land to build a home where day can stay. During the time when they were staying underground, the Indian had come to help them with their food when they were out of food and hays to burn to keep them warm. Wagon wheels is a touching story about father and sons tried to start their new lives in a place where there were no discrimination againist them.

  • Sam
    2019-06-02 18:41

    Wagon Wheels is a good book. It has pictures on every page with some text to go along with it. The text can be decoded with the illustrations. Some words may not be familiar to children and the concepts are more complex than other beginner books. The book is divided into five chapters. The sentences are short and are always in black text on white space in straight lines at the top or bottom of the page.

  • Cassie
    2019-05-25 17:54

    This book is based on a true story. It gives a great glimpse into what life was like for many and offers an opportunity to talk about some of the more unpleasant parts of American history and what that meant for some Americans. It's well written and illustrated, so makes a great addition to a child's library.

  • Brandi
    2019-06-13 20:37

    My kids and I loved this book! The story line naturally lends itself to chasing little bunny trails in search of life of natives and other topics like old west and homesteaders. We felt our hearts reach out to the characters as they encountered hardships on the life of the plains. Fantastic illustrations as well.

  • Sam
    2019-06-06 13:03

    I just read it because I was bored took me about twenty minutes to read...It says its based off a true story. It was a cute little story that's about the survival of a black family right after the Homestead act.

  • Jebbeh Fahnbulleh
    2019-06-19 12:53

    i like this book because the Muldie family is very nice to the people. They always know what they are doing. Those muldie boys and their father are going to Kansas to make a bigger life there because in there con

  • Luis
    2019-06-19 17:05

    A story about an African American man who braves the dangers of moving from Kentucky to Kansas with his three boys as they seek a better life. His journey does not look promising, but his heart is still hopeful despite the hardships along the way.

  • Sarah
    2019-06-19 18:39

    I am a big fan of these historical easy readers that make portions of history accessible to a younger age-set of children. This book was a great story not only of making a life out on the prairie, but of an African-American family as well. A great story.

  • Donzell Fomond
    2019-06-14 17:45

    I like this book because it is a true story, and it is a good book. It is sad too because their mom died, and now it is the four of them. Their dad built them a house. Their dad had grown them some food.

  • Cheryl
    2019-05-25 19:00

    I read this with my elementary-age sons, one an eager reader and the other a reluctant reader. We all thoroughly enjoyed this true story about a father and his three sons searching for place to settle in Kansas in the mid 1800s. An excellent mix of everyday history and adventure that my boys loved.

  • Ana Lupu
    2019-05-25 16:02

    Wagon Wheels is a good book. I also think that it's very sad to lose their mother on their journey. Now they have to fend for themselves and their dad leaves them by themselves to find a new place to live. And the rest is for you to read enjoy!

  • Jason Orendorff
    2019-06-16 15:45

    This book is lovely. Historical fiction that my three-year-old wanted me to read again and again. And I didn’t mind.