Old Crump

Book Description

The True Sto­ry of a Trip West

The fic­tion­al­ized voice of George Ben­nett tells the sto­ry of the per­ilous jour­ney of his fam­i­ly on the Over­land Trail, through Death Val­ley, and to Cal­i­for­nia in 1850. The fam­i­ly is forced to leave their pos­ses­sions behind and to burn their wag­ons to stay warm dur­ing the cold nights. Only dif­fi­cul­ties lie ahead. Old Crump, a coop­er­a­tive Ox, car­ries the youngest chil­dren in makeshift sad­dle­bags while the old­er mem­bers of the par­ty strug­gle along on foot. Read­ers will enjoy scenes of escaped tragedy and this account of a jour­ney fac­ing doom.

This pic­ture book is based on a true sto­ry of a par­ty of “forty-nin­ers” who were unlucky to have tak­en the wrong short­cut, but for­tu­nate to have brought an ox with them that was as coura­geous as he was faithful.

Reviews and Comments

“… a sol­id intro­duc­tion to the his­toric jour­ney to the West. [The illus­tra­tor, John Winch] plays up the dra­ma of nature’s per­ils, favor­ing a preda­tor’s-eye view and thus sub­tly empha­siz­ing the desert’s dan­gers. The illus­tra­tions set in the artist’s char­ac­ter­is­tic folk-art-style fig­ure against pho­tographs of the Valley’s lunar rocks and sands.” (Pub­lish­ers Week­ly)

“Winch’s illus­tra­tions are an inter­est­ing blend of pho­tographs and orig­i­nal art; paint­ings. … A hawk is pic­tured on almost every spread, watch­ing the trav­el­ers. … the book will make an inter­est­ing addi­tion to oth­er works about the West­ward move­ment.” (School Library Jour­nal)

“Lawlor draws on a true sto­ry … a group of forty-nin­ers, trav­el­ing in 1850, takes a short­cut from Utah to Cal­i­for­nia and winds up wan­der­ing through Death Val­ley. … Old Crump … car­ries the fam­i­ly across the desert to safe­ty. … Lawlor’s text [depicts] the emo­tions of the trav­el­ers, the fear of being lost, and the relief of find­ing a new home.” (Book­list)

Old Crump

writ­ten by Lau­rie Lawlor
illus­trat­ed by John Winch
Hol­i­day House, 2002

Please look for this book at 
your favorite pub­lic library
or used bookseller.