The Cabin Faced West

Author:  Jean Fritz
Illustrator:  Feodor Rojankovsky
Era:  1784
Published:  1958 (G.P. Puntam’s Sons)
Award:  none known 
Age Range:  3 – 12 years old
Review:  ★★★★★
Fritz relates the wonderfully poignant story of Ann Hamilton, a young girl who has moved west with her family, which include her parents, and two brothers. Her father, in his wisdom, emphasizes that the family must “look west” now, and that there should be no looking back.  Ann, however, finds this resolve difficult.  She misses her family, especially her cousin, Margaret, who was her best friend.  How will she be able to carve out a new identity for herself in this new unfamiliar land.  Who is this new Ann, who is now a pioneer girl?

Eventually, through various interactions with her family, other settlers, and George Washington himself, Ann learns the value of this new land and her place within it.

Set during the late 1700s, this story is based on a true one which happened to Fritz’s great-great-grandmother, Ann Hamilton.  George Washington did indeed stop at the Hamilton’s for dinner on September 18, 1784.  His diary reads:  “Set out with Doctr. Craik for my Land on Miller’s Run.  Crossed the Monongahela at Devore’s Ferry —- bated at one Hamilton’s about 4 miles from it, in Washington County, and lodged at Colo. Cannon’s”  And so the story passed down through generations to finally be shared with us all.

For a more extensive review, please see my Classical Children’s Carousel!

Oh yes, and the first book read for the January Classical Children’s Literature Event!

Deal Me in Challenge (#2) – Eight of Hearts

11 thoughts on “The Cabin Faced West

  1. You're welcome! I have a huge list of children's classic books, both on this blog and my children's book blog, that I'm trying to read through. Happily, the Deal Me In Challenge is helping me focus on them this year. I don't know why I don't get to them more often; each one I finish is excellent!

  2. Relaxing is a wonderful description of them. And Amanda's challenge at least makes me get to a few of them per year. Hopefully 2015 will see an increase of my reads of children's classics.

  3. Great story about the history of this tale going back to one of the many "George Washington slept here" instances! Love it. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  4. I'd never heard of this one, but it sounds like just the sort of book I would have loved in elementary school–history, pioneers, girl main character–all things I loved (still do). Also, a great reminder that "west" is relative–I was expecting the wast to be west of the Mississippi! (Don't forget to link up your post(s) on the main event page so others can find it!)

  5. I, too, thought it was in the far west and was surprised when the setting was in what we would now call the east.

    Thanks for the reminder, Amanda. Here I was being so good with linking my Back to the Classics books and I've dropped another ball. I'm going to link now …..

  6. This sounds lovely! I'm reading the Little House books now with my son and it would be great to branch out to more stories of pioneer life.

Thanks for visiting. I'd love to hear from you and have you join in the discussion!