The Little Pioneer – Adam Hancher

The Little Pioneer by Adam Hancher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: January 2nd, 2018
Publisher: Doubleday BFYR
Genres & Themes: Picture Book, Journey, Adventure


Children of all ages will be captivated by one brave girl’s adventures come to life as she relates the challenges, excitement, and dangers of the American frontier. Filled with drama and gorgeous, evocative illustrations, this first-person tale is a testament to the determination, solidarity, and courage of the early pioneers, each chasing their own American Dream.


How is this a picture book instead of a middle grade novel?

There is enough substance to satisfy a reader, but the substance is so serious that the content sometimes requires more explanation and description than what we are presented with.

For instance, the heroine quickly dislikes Mr. Reed, the captain of the expedition to California, because she finds him ‘‘uncultivated,’’ but she never defines the term for us, and while I personally know what the word means, I believe it can be a subjective term, meaning that everyone has different expectations of what a cultivated person should be like.

Also, since we don’t know the heroine enough, we don’t know how cultivated SHE is. I was surprised when she found Mr. Reed so wild, since it didn’t seem as though she was living the lavish life herself.

This picture book is supposed to show a young girl’s journey with her family and townspeople to a place that is unknown to her as well as what happens from point A to point B. However, because this is a short book, the journey is not detailed enough and the event before the culmination quite sudden.

But I did enjoy it and found it beautifully-illustrated. I just think the format is wrong for such a story, as it should have been longer.


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