Monday, January 25, 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.

I had hoped the Orphan Train series would appeal to my 9 year old daughter who is a voracious reader, but her interest just didn't go past the first few pages.

So, I read the four books, and I could see why it was difficult to get past the beginning. Ethan's story starts out pretty sadly and seriously. And, for the most part, the book continues to keep the somber theme.

The story felt like several small incidents that weren't tied in smoothly. I loved that Ethan was a real boy – and I loved knowing that these events really happened: like painting the pig, the circus train, and Pancho Villa! – but the overall flow of the story was a bit choppy.

Because Ethan's new family wasn't really loving, in a nurturing and compassionate way, I only felt sorry for him and his siblings, wishing for them the same tender care that his friend Bert received.

Eh, but that's life...and history. Like Mrs. Richardson, the orphan trains fascinate me...and I enjoyed hearing a true-to-life, less-than-glamorous tale.

Still, the Orphan Train series is worth the read. Just be aware it's a bit more serious than most children's books. Perhaps my daughter – or son – will prefer these books when they hit the higher end of the recommended age bracket (8-12).

Thank you to Arleta and David C. Cook through NetGalley for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**
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