Book Review: The Oregon Trail – Race to Chimney Rock by Jesse Wiley

Now that school’s out, I’m catching up on posting reviews of some of the easier reads I’ve read over the school year. I try to preview books that my daughter might be interested in reading.

Having grown up in the age of dinosaur computers that ran The Oregon Trail game, this book appealed to me, also reminding me of the “choose your own adventure” series I used to read as a kid. This book is structured the same way, so it’s a combination of a low chance of success (Oregon Trail game) with the decision-making power of the “choose your own adventure” series.

The plot is simple: a family is leaving for Chimney Rock in 1850, and you have to help them make the right decisions. It was fun to read through all the possibilities, choosing the best and worst options. It’s the first of four books in the series. It does highlight the trials of pioneers moving west during this era—there was so much stacked against them. The level of detail was not overpowering, but sometimes I wished for a few more details. It was short enough at 150 pages that I was able to read through the whole adventure—and all of the possibilities—before bed one night (the font is very large).

It’s a fun book that I will endorse for my daughter. There is nothing inappropriate about it, and it’s an interesting look into the era—perhaps an entry into the time period that might lead to looking more closely at some of the more nuanced issues in history.

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