Kurtz, Jane. I’m Sorry, Almira Ann. Illustrated by Susan Havice. Henry Holt, 1999. ISBN 0-8050-6094-4. $15.95. 120 pp. A- 2-4 FI Reviewed by Donna J. Jorgensen Two eight-year-old girls, both born on the 4th of July, are journeying from Missouri to Oregon on the Oregon Trail. Sarah and Almira Ann have been friends all their lives and are glad they won’t have to leave each other behind. On the trail, Almira Ann makes clothes for her beloved doll and makes a rag doll for Sarah’s birthday. As the trail gets difficult and dusty, Sarah’s temper gets the better of her, and her behavior disappoints Almira Ann. When she tries to make up with Almira Ann, Sarah plays a joke on her, and Almira Ann falls out of the wagon to have the wheel run over her leg, and a goat eats all but the head of her doll. Although the accident was unintentional, Sarah feels responsible and Almira Ann doesn’t want to see her. After days of sadness, Sarah embarks on a plan to make amends. She plans a surprise of lemonade, made from the carbonated waters at Soda Springs and some lemon syrup, and she makes a new doll with the head she rescued. The two friends are reunited. The author adds a note explaining the facts and fictions of her story. It is well written and accurate to the time period. The values stressed, of self-control, not envying others, and of making the best of what one has are not new to pioneer stories, but are desirable nonetheless. Since the character are eight years old, going on nine, this book will appeal to a third grader who reads well.
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