Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesday's Tuesday Post... Quilting and Pioneers

Well, this post was supposed to go up yesterday, but I've been experiencing a severe lack of motivation... but I'm trying to get back on track and didn't want to just skip yesterday's post! Today's quilting post focuses on pioneers. As we've learned from the Non-Fiction Monday post, quilts were very popular among the pioneers for a variety of reason... the two stories up for review today make mention of one type of quilt in particular - the Wandering Foot.

Lowell, Susan.
The Elephant Quilt.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Review copy borrowed from local library.

The year is 1859 and Lily Rose and her family are among the last of the pioneer families headed west in search of the California gold. The book got it's title from the simple motivator provided to Lily Rose from her older brother Lorenzo, who shouted "We're going to see the elephant." This was a popular American expression in the 1800's meant to have the thrill , or shock of a lifetime, working as a motivator to help pioneers keep their spirits up on the long, hard trip West. Throughout the journey Lily Rose and her grandmother work on sewing the "Elephant Quilt" that will act as a reminder of their travels, as quilts often did for pioneers - journaling the adventures they endured.

This is a wonderful book to include in a unit about quilts or even for children studying pioneers, as it features many important aspects of both!

Van Leeuwen, Jean.
Papa and the Pioneer Quilt.
Dial Books for Young Readers.
Review copy borrowed from local library.

Wandering feet (pioneers on the move) is yet again the topic of choice in this quilting story! Little Rebecca and her family are leaving behind most of their prized possessions to join the wagon train to head west to Oregon. As Rebecca befriends new bride Rachel, who oftentimes walks alongside her, she learns of just what it is that keeps Rachel's spirits up... a copper kettle (her only belonging making the trip with her) that's full of little scraps of fabric, all of which will be turned into a quilt... something fresh to start a new life that joins with reminders of their past and the journey that has been made. Rebecca soon desires to start a quilt of her own and, upon arriving in Oregon, works alongside her mother to create the quilt "Wandering Foot" quilt that will serve as a reminder of all that was endured on their long journey.

The authors note provided on the last page is a perfect compliment to the story, as it discusses different quilt patterns, but in particular, details about the "Wandering Foot" quilt that Rebecca and her mother sewed.

Learning/Reading Activity:
  • Today's post features an art project in which (older) children, grades 3-5 will create a 10x10 paper version of a Wandering Foot quilt! All of the pieces needed can be found on this Pieced Wandering Foot Pattern worksheet. Children will need construction or scrapbook paper to create the quilt, as well as a 10x10 sheet on which to glue the pieces.
  • These two books also set up a perfect discussion about the similarities and differences between Rebecca and Lily Rose - so, if you're looking for something more along the lines of reading comprehension activities, your child(ren) could complete this Venn Diagram to compare and contrast the two stories and characters.

If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to I am an Amazon Affiliate, so any purchases you make after clicking these images will result in my receiving a small percentage of the sale price!