Basing her story on the published accounts of her true-life heroine, Mary Ellen Todd, Van Leeuwen describes a family's tumultuous journey along the Oregon Trail in 1852." --"Publishers Weekly" "With only a guide book to show them the way, the Todd family sets out from their Arkansas home on a two thousand mile trek to claim unchartered Oregon Territory. Crossing rough terrain and encountering hostile people, the Todds show their true pioneering spirit. But as winter draws near, will the Todds have the strength to complete their journey? And if they make it, will Oregon fulfill their dreams? This is a convincing picture of a pioneer journey that does a good job of showing the tremendous sacrifices people made to follow their dream of a better life. "School Library Journal"