Monday, February 23, 2015

Patty Reed's Doll...The Donner Party

Patty Reed's Doll by Rachel K. Laurgaard is the story of the "Donner Party", a group of pioneers stranded in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the winter of 1846.  The party was traveling west from Springfield, Illinois to Sutter's Fort, California when they were trapped by heavy snows for months without food.  Many of them died, but little 8-year old Patty Reed survived.  Patty secretly carried a special friend along the way, a tiny wooden doll she called "Dolly".  The book is Patty's story as told by Dolly.

Patty Reed's Doll is a wonderful account of the true life experiences pioneers faced.  Laurgaard pieced together Patty's story from letters, journals, and stories told by the Donner survivors.  I learned, laughed, and cried.  There were many moments where the kids sat on the edge of their seat waiting to see what would happen.   There is a map at the beginning of the book that we copied and pasted into the kid's notebooks so we could follow along on the journey.  There is also a photo of  Dolly, who today, sits in a glass case at Sutter's Fort State Historic Park in Sacramento, California. 

I highly recommend Patty Reed's Doll if you are studying the Donner Party, Westward Expansion, California, or just looking for a good read.  The book is recommended reading for Beautiful Feet's History of California guide and TruthQuest history.  Below are samples of the kid's notebook pages that accompany Patty Reed's Doll....


  1. Where do you get the page to color for their notebooks? Thanks.

  2. Hey Shannon,

    BF recommends which pages to copy from the illustrations in the book.