cover image Rescue on the Oregon Trail

Rescue on the Oregon Trail

Kate Messner, illus. by Kelley McMorris. Scholastic, $17.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-545-63915-6

A time-traveling golden retriever named Ranger stars in this magic-tinged first book in the Ranger in Time series. Trained as a search-and-rescue dog, Ranger is magically transported away from his young owner, Luke, to the year 1850 after finding a first-aid kit buried in the garden. It turns out that Ranger is just what a boy named Sam Abbott, his family, and the other families they are traveling with need to survive the treacherous 2,000-mile journey from Independence, Mo., to the Oregon Territory. Ranger finds Sam’s lost three-year-old sister, Amelia, and alerts Sam to dangers ranging from rattlesnakes to stampedes. Perhaps most importantly, Ranger provides comfort to Sam, who couldn’t bring his own dog on the journey McMorris’s richly rendered illustrations heighten the plot’s many moments of danger and drama, and Messner (Manhunt) incorporates a wealth of historical details into her rousing adventure story. An author’s note offers additional context and detail about the challenges pioneers faced and the real-life research that went into this story. Ages 7–10. Author’s agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Justin Rucker, Shannon Associates. (Jan.)