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Off Like the Wind!: The First Ride of the Pony Express    by Michael Spradlin & Layne Johnson order for
Off Like the Wind!
by Michael Spradlin
Order:  USA  Can
Walker, 2010 (2010)
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Pony Express by sharing this picture book with youngsters seven years of age and older. In 1860, the first Pony Express rider set out from Missouri to make the eleven day trip to California carrying mail.

Recreating the dangerous and exhausting 1,840 mile overland journey, this book chronicles each day's ride. Setting off from St. Joseph, Missouri, the rider will travel about 80 miles, changing horses every ten miles. At each of the 160 way stations, a fresh rider will take over.

The trip will take the rider through what is now Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada before crossing the rugged Sierra Mountains into California. The dangers along the way range from unfriendly Indians and
wildlife to inclement weather and the stress related to enduring the solitary journey without anyone to turn to in a time of need.

Well researched with a bibliography, suggestions for further reading and related web sites, this book on the Pony Express is ideal for not just pleasure reading but for also doing the initial work for a school report. For families who might be vacationing along the route of the Pony Express, here's an excellent resource for heightening your child's interest in the journey.

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