Ackerman, Karen. 1990. Araminta's Paint Box. Ill. by Betsy Lewin. New York: Atheneum, Macmillan Publishing Company. ISBN 0689314620
Plot Summary: Araminta's family is moving west in a covered wagon to the territory of California. Her uncle gives her a special paint box as a going-away gift. Unfortunately, the paint box is lost on the trail west, but through a series of incredible events, the paint box winds up back with Araminta in California.
Critical Analysis: This is a happy-ending story with a predictable ending, but one that arrives there with the reader satisfied with how the events are resolved. This is a good example for practicing sequencing and geography and maps of the early days of the United states.
Every page of the book has an illustration, which highlights each important event in the story allowing young readers to better grasp the flow of sequence and time in the story. Action and movement are felt in each picture enabling the reader to feel the westward expansion of the United States during the second half of the 1800s.
School Library Journal: "...an engaging way to present a slice of early American history to young children. Pen and watercolor illustrations charmingly capture the light-hearted spirit of the westward saga."
Connections: This book ties in nicely with a study on the westward movement of the United States. It provides a break from all the facts and history of this time period.
Video Series: Westward Expansion for Students
Title: Covered Wagons and Westward Expansion
Publisher: SVE and Churchill Media 2004
Broida, Marion. Projects About Westward Expansion. ISBN 0761416048
Erickson, Paul. Daily Life in a Covered Wagon. ISBN 0140562125