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The Wild West: 1804-1990

post written by Emma Filbrun

The Wild West: 1804-1990 by James I. Robertson and Mort KünstlerTitle: The Wild West: 1804-1990
Author: James I. Robertson, Jr.
Series: See American History
Major Themes: Exploration, Wild West
Synopsis: The story of the American West is told, well illustrated with beautiful paintings by Mort Kunstler.

I’m a sucker for historical picture books. This one happens to be straight history, rather than a story, but I enjoyed it all the same. I can’t say I learned anything from The Wild West: 1804-1990, because I’ve read a lot before about all the events and places mentioned, but the pictures are wonderful. They are bright, clear paintings, which bring the era to life.

Although this book mainly covers the years from 1804 to 1890, there are a few introductory chapters giving some background from the three previous centuries. The short (2-4 page) chapters cover such topics as the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Alamo, the Gold Rush, and Custer’s Last Stand. Each chapter has one or more detailed paintings to illustrate it.

For children who want only stories, this might not be a good fit, but if you have a child who enjoys nonfiction, it would be perfect. I would have loved it when I was 8 or 10, and my 13-year-old would enjoy it now. Some of the others would love it just for the pictures; in fact, my 4-year-old says, “It’s a really good book!” He was looking at it with me on the computer.

I received a free ecopy of this book from NetGalley and chose to write a review.

WARNING: There are pictures of the massacre at the Alamo, the Civil War, law in the Wild West, including a man with an injured arm being led to prison, and Custer’s last battle.

Age Levels:

Read Aloud—Ages 8 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15


Links to buy The Wild West: 1804-1990:

Amazon: Hardcover

AbeBooks: View Choices on


Exploration, Wild West

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