The Cabin Faced West
post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: The Cabin Faced West
Author: Jean Fritz
Major Themes: Pennsylvania, Pioneers, George Washington, Frontier Life, Family Read-Alouds, Historical Fiction, US History 1783-1860
Synopsis: Ann did not want to move with her family to the West, so how could she ever learn to be content there?
One of the books I remember reading when I was fairly young was The Cabin Faced West. This may have been one of the first Jean Fritz books I came across; I think a neighbor gave it to us in a big boxful of books they cleaned off their shelves. I’ve always enjoyed this story, and now my children do, too. We’ve read it aloud about four times now.
Ann and her family moved west from Gettysburg to a new home in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Ann’s father and her older brothers all loved the West and were sure it was the best place in the world to live—but Ann missed her cousin Margaret back home in Gettysburg. Out here, there were no girls with whom to have a tea party and talk about girl things. She was so lonely! However, she didn’t dare to complain, or she would suffer the penalty her brothers were threatening.
One day, a boy showed up, from a squatter family down the hill. He seemed to be trying to rub Ann the wrong way, but somehow the two became sort of friends, and Ann even started teaching him to read and write—until she scuffed out a message he wrote in the dirt that offended her! What would it take to make them friends again? And would Ann ever learn to appreciate the West? The solution to each of these problems will surprise you.
The Cabin Faced West is a beautiful picture of someone learning to be content where she is, and to find beauty and things to appreciate even if she must live somewhere she doesn’t want to. It depicts some of the hardships of pioneer life, but also some of the joys, and I liked the way it showed neighbors working together for the common good. And by the way, this is based on a true story.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12
Links to buy this book:
Keywords: Pennsylvania, Pioneers, George Washington, Frontier Life, Family Read-Alouds, Historical Fiction, US History 1783-1860