Saturday, February 13, 2016

Beyond The Orphan Train Series by Arleta Richardson

In the tender style of Little House on the Prairie, the Beyond the Orphan Train series tells the story of the Cooper children who ride the orphan train to a new life.

These four charming books will engage young readers with a forgotten era in American history when thousands of homeless children were relocated from the East Coast to live with families in the Midwest.

Written for children ages 8 to 12, this fictional series captures the lives and adventures of Ethan, Alice, Simon, and Will Cooper as they travel from an orphanage in Pennsylvania to a farm in Nebraska to a new home in Mexico. Along the way, they encounter snakebites, dust storms, and other trials but ultimately learn that God will never leave them.

Arleta Richardson was an American religious and children's author, librarian, and a teacher. The Grandma's Attic series was her most well known series. She belonged to the Free Methodist Church. Wikipedia
Born: March 9, 1923, Flint, MI
Died: July 25, 2004, Escondido, CA
My Review
Book 1   Looking For Home
The first book in the Beyond the Orphan Train series, Looking for Home takes us back to 1907 Pennsylvania and into the real-life adventures of four children in search of a true home.
Being a fan of Arleta Richardson, and ecstatic when I saw these books being offered, I jumped at the chance to read them. I loved the Grandma’s Attic series that she wrote, and for me this was a hidden gem to share with my grandchildren.
This is the first book and in the Orphan Train series and we meet the family under dire circumstances. Their mother has just died and the older children cannot take care of the five younger ones, Ethan the oldest of the four who will have to leave begins his life journey to make sure Alice, Simon and Will are all taken care of as his mother requested.
What a responsibility for an eight year old to take them all by himself to the orphanage, and thus begins a new way of life for these Cooper children. I ended up explaining about the orphan trains that took children to the west to my boys, but this story made it very real to them.
We experience the life in the orphanage with this first book, and how they cope, and some tears and chuckles are forth coming. A great start for this series.
Book 2 Whistle Stop West
he second book, Whistle-Stop West, deals with the adventures of the Coopers and some of the other children we met in the first book, as they travel on the train to their new homes in the West. To know that this story is based on a real family makes this story so real for my boys.
Again there are a few adventures and scary moments that make us realize how fortunate we are not to have gone out to the unknown to find a family to love us. We meet circus performers on this one and Simone has his own adventure, and a few chuckles!
There are also some hard goodbyes when new families come and take some of the children at the stops along the route, how hard that must have been for these children to see those they care about leave, and never to been seen by them again.
We can’t wait for the next book in this series.
Book 3 Prairie Homestead
In this story, Prairie Homestead, the children are settling in to their new family and felling that things might not be so rosy. The only one that is accepted is Will, and the boys had a hard time with this.
As time goes on things change and our little Simon has an adventure of his own, and the family is about to change again.
Seems like the children are settled and then they are on their way to South Dakota, and leaving the home they know in Nebraska. What an interesting and scary lives these children have experienced so far, and what a great way to teach children about the history of our country.
Now there is talk of another move?
Book 4
Across The Border,
This story, Across The Border, picks up with living in South Dakota, and four years have passed, they are now in the house and out of the sod house in into the two story.
Now Father has some new adventure that they will be going on, they are moving to Mexico. Again we get out a map and show where this country is and how far they are going to be traveling.
They go by train part of the way and then by wagon, what a life experience these children are about to have, and to think it is based on a true story.
While in Mexico we sure do meet so interesting people, and folks that this family will never forget.
Don’t miss this conclusion to the Orphan Train books, while all things have to end, I wish this would continue. I loved this series!
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher David C. Cook, and was not required to give a positive review.

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