Beyond the Trail
post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: Beyond the Trail
Author: Lily A. Bear
Major Themes: Pioneer Life, Travel, Moving, Canada, Family Read-Alouds, Christian Non-Fiction, Christian Living, 1900-1950 History, North America
Synopsis: The Kauffman family needed to move 500 miles, but didn’t have the means to go by train, so they traveled by horse-drawn wagon.
I remember really enjoying Beyond the Trail when I first read it, soon after it was published in the 1990s. I remembered it as a great adventure, of a family traveling pioneer-style, so I put it on the shelf of books that I recommended for the boys to choose from for our daily read-aloud time. My 7-year-old choose it, because he wanted a very long book. He wanted a long one to compete with his older brother who chooses books like Kon Tiki, which take us a couple of months to get through, and Beyond the Trail looked long enough for that.
Beyond the Trail tells the story of the Kauffman family as they moved 500 miles by horse-drawn wagons across the Canadian prairies in the mid 1930s. They had been told to leave their rental farm in Alberta, and Father decided that his family needed to move to the community in which his brother lived, in Saskatchewan. With no money to take the train, he fixed up four wagons and hired a young man to help drive, and the family took off on an adventure—much to 17-year-old Ruth’s dismay, as she imagined what onlookers thought of them.
For over a month the family traveled, through heat and cold, dry days and rainy ones. They enjoyed many pleasant evenings with new friends they met along the way, and spent one night in agony with food poisoning. They had to show Christian forgiveness when people did or said unkind things, and Ruth continually had to work to keep her attitude right. The hired man watched the family and listened to them talk about their faith as he saw them live it out.
There are no great, exciting adventures in Beyond the Trail; it is simply the story of a family working, worshiping and enjoying life together as they traveled in an unusual, old-fashioned way. It was not the most favorite book of my family, but it was a very worthwhile story, and we did enjoy it. And, it’s based on a true story, taken from “Grandmother’s Journal”, which makes it even better!
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 10 – 12, 12 – 15
Links to buy this book:
Keywords: Pioneer Life, Travel, Moving, Canada, Family Read-Alouds, Christian Non-Fiction, Christian Living, 1900-1950 History, North America