The race to Chimney Rock

Jesse Wiley

Book - 2018

It's 1850, and you are setting off on the treacherous Oregon Trail. In this first book of four, your goal is to get you and your family to Chimney Rock on time. But many dangers await you on the journey ahead. Wild animals, natural disasters, sickness, and other obstacles stand between you and your destination. Which path will get you safely across the prairie? With more than twenty possible endings, choose wrong and you'll never make it to Chimney Rock on time. Choose right and blaze a trail that gets you closer to Oregon City!

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Historical fiction
Choose-your-own stories
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt [2018]
Main Author
Jesse Wiley (author)
Item Description
"Choose your own trail!"
"More than 20 possible endings!"
Physical Description
159 pages : illustrations, map ; 21 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

It's 1850, and you are a young pioneer heading west with your family on the Oregon Trail. In this first of a four-book series, your goal is to make it to Chimney Rock. Just as for the real pioneers, there are many perils along the way: bears, illness, raging rivers, broken wagons, sick oxen, and more. Astute readers will need to make tricky decisions to arrive safely in Oregon City. Readers are presented with an introduction that informs them that this choose-your-own adventure has 22 possible endings. Some are good (settling in a nice spot along the trail), some are bad (You have died of dysentery), but only one will take you to the finish line. To help, the author provides a Guide to the Trail at the back of the book, which readers are encouraged to skim before they begin. While the format seems a bit gimmicky, the light educational content and adventure focus might please kids (and their parents, who probably played the same kind of game when they were growing up).--Lindsey Tomsu Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Horn Book Review

Readers play the role of pioneers attempting to travel the Oregon Trail in this choose-your-own-adventure narrative. The interactive format and throwback-style graphics evoking the classic Oregon Trail computer game should attract young readers. However, the series glosses over the negative impacts of westward expansion on American Indians; if used in the classroom, pair with more thorough resources on the topic. There are three other books in this series. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

It's just after dawn, and you're asleep in the Frontier Inn in Independence, Missouri. You're dreaming when a noise jolts you awake.       SLAM! Clang! Clang!      You leap up and hurry to the window. What could be so loud this early in the morning?      You smile when you see that an ox has just knocked over a blacksmith's cart. Tools and horseshoes are spilled all over the dirt road. The blacksmith grumbles as he tosses horseshoes back into the cart.       Clang! Clang! Clang!      Now you're fully awake, so you stay by the window to watch the town come to life. You're amazed by all the activity you see. Carpenters are sawing wood. Shopkeepers are arranging barrels. And there as so many animals! Horses, cows, and huge oxen are all over.      You also see covered wagons, more than you've ever seen in your life. The wagons belong to the hundreds of families staying in town.      You're here with your family, your dog, your farm wagon, and your oxen. All of you, like the other families, are getting ready to start a five- to six-month journey to Oregon Territory. That's two thousand miles away on the other side of the continent! You'll have to walk alongside your wagon for nine hours a day, through prairies, deserts, and mountains. You gulp at the thought.      You turn and look back inside the room, at your family. Your brother and sister are still asleep, but Ma and Pa are already up and working. Ma is sewing a bonnet for your little sister Hannah, and Pa is making a slingshot for your younger brother, Samuel.      "Kentucky already feels very far away, doesn't it?" Ma says. You nod.      So far, the trip from your home in Kentucky has been pretty easy. You traveled from one town to the next, with comfortable breaks along the way. Soon, though, you'll be setting off on the Oregon Trail, where there won't be any big towns like Independence. You'll stay in tents instead of inns, and sometimes you'll sleep under the stars. It'll just be wide-open prairie for miles and miles, until you reach Chimney Rock. After that, you'll have to get over the mountains.      Pa comes to the window and puts his arm around you. His hands are rough from working as a carpenter.      "I've always wanted a farm of our own," he says. "Now is our chance."      "The land's free to families who head out West to claim it," Ma adds.      "Yes," Pa says, with a smile. "Just think of all the space we'll have."      You think of the cramped house you all shared in Kentucky. More space means plenty of room for all of you. And for your dog, Archie, to run around!      "Come here, boy," you call to Archie, then scratch him around the ears. He barks, waking up Samuel and Hannah.      Everyone washes up, and you head over to Jake's Tavern. The road is crowded with people and animals. Hannah holds on tight to your hand as you cross the street. You have to hop over oxen poop, and swerve to avoid a horse-drawn cart.      When you walk into the dining room at Jake's Tavern, you're met by a strong scent of bacon, coffee, and fried eggs. The room is packed, and you squeeze around chairs to an empty wooden table in the back.      A group of men at the next table have a map spread out in front of them. They're pointing at landmarks with names like Devil's Gate and the Platte River.      You overhear stories about the terrible fates of unlucky pioneers that make you shiver. Luckily, Samuel and Hannah aren't listening. They're too busy slathering butter and syrup on their flapjacks.      Pa begins talking to the men with the map. They discuss whether to start down the Trail at the beginning of April next week, or to wait a little longer.      "If we leave now, we get a head start," one man says. "We'll get the best pick of land."      "But there isn't much grass for the oxen to graze on yet," another says. "We'd have to carry feed for them. It's better to wait a month."      "Waiting means more crowds on the Trail," the first man argues. "And if we're delayed, we might hit snow at the mountains after Chimney Rock."      Pa leans over and says to you, "There's a lot to consider. What do you think we should do?"      Your heart starts racing. This is a big decision, and you don't want to say the wrong thing.      "Go on," Pa says. "You're getting older now. Your opinion counts."      Pa really cares what you think. You feel honored.      You carefully consider the reasons for leaving next week or for waiting another month. If you say you should leave in April, turn to page 49 If you say you should leave in May, turn to page 62 Excerpted from The Race to Chimney Rock by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Staff, Jesse Wiley All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.