Maddy is new to the prairie, but when she and her classmates are trapped in their schoolhouse by a ferocious blizzard, she must lead them all to safety.
I’d first heard of the Schoolhouse Blizzard a year or two ago, when I read Melanie Benjamin’s The Children’s Blizzard, which similarly followed a schoolteacher and a group of schoolchildren who were trapped by the snow and had to fight to survive. This book covers the same topic and themes, but in a way that is more accessible to children.
Maddy is a relatable heroine. She may have been sent to live with her uncle and his family in Dakota Territory and have trouble adjusting to the rough rigor of pioneer life, but what she worries about is fitting in with her peers and making her family proud. I thought the depiction of the storm was reasonably vivd without becoming too frightening for young readers. I also liked the non-fiction
However, I did feel the characters were thinly sketched, somewhat one note, and I wished we got a better sense of who Maddy and her classmates were. One of the best parts of a survival story is always rooting for the characters to live through it, but without being able to connect much to anyone, the emotional impact of this story was lessened.
Overall, I think this is a good choice of reading material for young readers who have a morbid streak – as I was!
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. This is my honest and voluntary review.