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Journey to Plum Creek

Journey to Plum Creek

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Journey to Plum Creek

4/5 (1 évaluation)
159 pages
1 heure
Apr 14, 2020


The cave at Mount Bonnell, not far from the school Hannah, Nick, and Jackie attend in Austin, has attracted many visitors over the years, from Indians to Boy Scouts to historic reenactors. But when Jackie’s grandfather takes the trio there on an impromptu excursion, they meet a traveler of an entirely different sort: explorer Elijah Barrington, who has arrived there from the past. And accompanying him is a trunk that looks oddly familiar.

A slam of the trunk’s lid transports the girls into a melee of swirling hoofbeats and bright war paint. Before they know it, they’ve been taken captive by Comanche warriors in a raid on Victoria, Texas, in 1840. As they learn about life among the natives and participate reluctantly in another raid, Nick races east from Mount Bonnell on horseback in the company of Bigfoot Wallace, Jack Hays, and other Texas Rangers.

As the old order of Texas clashes with the new at the Battle of Plum Creek, the youngsters find themselves on opposing sides—but also find friendship in unexpected places.

Book Six in the award-winning time-travel series Mr. Barrington’s Mysterious Trunk
Apr 14, 2020

À propos de l'auteur

Fourth-grade teacher Melodie A. Cuate draws from extensive research, travel, and classroom experience for each new episode in Mr. Barrington’s Mysterious Trunk. In addition to writing, she conducts teacher workshops with curriculum developed specifically for the series, as well as school visits. She lives with her husband, Tony, in McAllen, Texas.

Aperçu du livre

Journey to Plum Creek - Melodie A. Cuate



The Ride Home

I s that your grandpa’s car? Hannah asked her friend Jackie as they watched a silver BMW turn into the Travis Middle School driveway. A line of cars crept forward bumper to bumper, almost like a parade. The sidewalks were filled with noisy students waiting for rides.

Standing on tiptoes, Jackie squinted into the sun. I can’t tell from here.

Both girls were wearing jeans and their navy-blue spirit shirts with Travis Bobcats on the front. Hannah ran her fingers through her shoulder-length brown hair, untangling some strands from her favorite silver-hoop earrings. I love having early release on a Friday, she said.

Me too, Jackie agreed. Ugh, this wind is something else! Jackie took a hair clip out of the pocket of her backpack and fastened her black hair back.

Hi, Hannah, someone behind them said. Hannah turned around. There was Jacob, smiling at Hannah.

Hannah smiled back. Hi, she murmured.

Hey, Jacob, Jackie said, how’d you do on your math test?

Jacob grimaced. It was kind of hard.

Seventh-grade math is a nightmare! Jackie dropped her backpack to the ground with a thud.

It wasn’t that bad, Hannah laughed.

Jacob glanced at Hannah. Maybe we should study together, he suggested. There’s my ride. Later.

Bye, Hannah said.

Jackie observed Jacob as he hopped into the car and slammed the door. Oh—my—gosh! she exclaimed. He likes you!

Hannah felt herself blush. Jacob likes a different girl every week. Jacob half-waved at her through the window as his car pulled away.

He’s definitely not good boyfriend material yet. There’s my grandpa. Do me a favor, Hannah. Don’t get him started on history again.

Hannah shrugged. Sure.

As Jackie climbed into the front seat of her grandfather’s car, Hannah scanned the school grounds for her thirteen-year-old brother, Nick. He was sitting on a bench with his friends. Nick! Hannah called out as she opened the back door.

Hi, abuelo, Jackie chirped to her grandfather.

How was your day, mija? Jackie’s grandfather’s gray hair was peppered with black. A large mustache almost covered his mouth.

Okay, Jackie responded.

Thanks for the ride home, Mr. Montalvo, Hannah said.

You’re most welcome, Hannah. Where’s Nick?

He’s coming. Hannah slid over in the backseat to make room for her brother. Nick rose from the bench and picked up his backpack as he chatted with a girl with long blonde hair.

Who’s that pretty girl with Nick? Mr. Montalvo asked.

Zoe, Hannah replied.

His girlfriend? Mr. Montalvo mused.

Please, abuelo, don’t ask him about that. He’s such a pain, Jackie muttered.

Mr. Montalvo chuckled. He’s always been a polite young man.

A car horn honked behind them. Hannah leaned over and yelled, Nick, hurry up!

Nick strolled toward the car and got in. Cool Beamer, Mr. Montalvo. What year is it?

It’s a ’99. I only take it out for a spin once in a while. Mr. Montalvo waved to the driver behind him as he started to pull away from the sidewalk.

Nick ran a hand over the tan leather seat. Mint condition.

So what’s new in school, kids? asked Mr. Montalvo. He signaled and took a right as they exited the school driveway.

Our substitute fell asleep during a video in science class, Jackie giggled. First his head slid slowly to the side, and then his mouth fell open. She closed her eyes for a moment and imitated the substitute’s motions.

That’s it? questioned Mr. Montalvo. How about you, Hannah?

Well . . . Hannah reviewed the day’s events in her mind. Nothing really exciting stood out. Mr. Barrington, our history teacher, started telling us about Jack Hays. He was a Texas Ranger and—

Jackie groaned.

Enough with the history, Hannah, Nick grumbled. He leaned his head back on the seat and stared at the ceiling.

The Texas Rangers . . . Mr. Montalvo glanced at Hannah in the rearview mirror. There was a twinkle in his eyes. The men who tamed Texas. Some called them ‘los diablos tejanos.’

The Texas Devils, Jackie translated. They sound ferocious.

The Rangers used to ride up to Mount Bonnell and watch for Comanches, Mr. Montalvo said.

Where is Mount Bonnell? asked Hannah.

Here, in Austin, Mr. Montalvo explained. Have you been there?

Nope, said Hannah. She thought about the picture Mr. Barrington had shown the class of Jack Hays. He was dressed in a suit and didn’t look tough enough to fight the Comanches.

There’s a great view of the city up there, Mr. Montalvo stated.

Can you take me someday? asked Jackie.

I have a terrific idea, Mr. Montalvo said. Since we have the whole afternoon ahead of us, why don’t we drive up there now?

Sure, Hannah and Jackie responded together.

Nick leaned forward in the seat. Ah, there’s a slight problem, sir. I have some important stuff to do at home.

Come with us, mijo, Mr. Montalvo coaxed. My wife is baking her famous chocolate-chip cookies. We can pick up a few on our way. Jackie, call your abuela.

Yum . . . Jackie pulled a pink cell phone out of her backpack and pressed a button. Hi, Nana. Abuelo is taking us up to Mount Bonnell. He mentioned your to-die-for cookies.

Hannah’s mouth watered. She formed a large circle with her hands. Her cookies are this big.

It’s just the three of us, Nana. Hannah’s brother doesn’t want to—

Wait, Nick interrupted. I guess I’ll go along, this time.

Jackie turned around. Her eyes narrowed as she stared at Nick. He smiled smugly at her. Nana, Nick decided to join us . . . Yeah, he eats like a horse. Bye.

Mr. Montalvo chuckled. That wasn’t nice, mija.

He’s a bottomless pit, Hannah agreed.

See how they are, Mr. Montalvo, Nick protested.

The car came to a stop at a red light. Mr. Montalvo turned to look at Nick. Don’t let them bully you, mijo. Stand up for yourself.

Abuelo, he argues with us all the time! stated Jackie.

Is that true, young man? Mr. Montalvo asked.

It’s not me, sir, honest; it’s them, Nick said with a grin.


Mount Bonnell

As soon as Hannah had called her mom for permission to go to Mount Bonnell, they stopped at Mr. Montalvo’s house, packed up the cookies and some bottled water, and were on the road again. Jackie sat in the backseat with Hannah, and Nick moved to the front with Mr. Montalvo. Hannah gazed out the window as they followed a winding road higher and higher. She always loved Austin’s scenic countryside of hills and valleys.

Nick reached behind his head and waggled his fingers. Hand me a cookie.

Jackie made a face. Sorry, you’ll just have to wait till we get there.


Mija, a cookie sounds like a good idea, Mr. Montalvo said. Let’s all have one.

Jackie opened the picnic basket and unfolded a kitchen towel containing the chocolate-chip cookies. A brown-sugar aroma filled the car as she passed one to everyone. They are huge! Nick exclaimed.

The cookie was warm in Hannah’s hand. As she took a bite, the soft chocolate chips melted on her tongue. Why did your grandma seem upset when I mentioned the Texas Rangers? she asked.

I don’t know, replied Jackie. Abuelo?

Mr. Montalvo shook his head. "Stories of the Rangers always fascinate me, but your abuela . . . she despises them. Her mother had a cousin who was killed by the Rangers in the early 1900s. The Rinches, as some called them, killed some Hispanics in South Texas for no good reason."

Were the Rangers always like that? Nick asked.

No. In fact, several of the first Rangers were Hispanics around the time of the Texas Revolution. Even Juan Seguín was a Ranger for a while. They were trying to protect their homes from roving bandits and the Native Americans. As the settlers in Texas moved farther west, they sometimes settled on land claimed by Indians. That’s when the trouble started.

Which tribe was the scariest? Jackie asked.

The Comanches, Mr. Montalvo said solemnly. One of their boldest raids was on the Texas settlements of Victoria and Linnville. That led to the Battle of Plum Creek.

Nick’s hand suddenly appeared between the front seats. Another cookie.

I’ve never heard of Plum Creek, said Jackie.

It’s near Lockhart, Mr. Montalvo replied. They have good barbeque there.

C’mon, Hannah, Nick pleaded. Jackie rolled her eyes as she plopped another cookie into his hand.

What else do you know about Mount Bonnell? Hannah asked.

Mr. Montalvo said, A well-known ranger named Bigfoot Wallace lived in one of the caves while he was sick.

Caves . . . Nick mumbled with a full mouth.

Jackie giggled. I wonder what Bigfoot looked like.

There’s even a legend about a woman who was captured by the Comanches. When her true love came to rescue her, the warriors killed him right in front of her. Mr. Montalvo paused for a moment to take another bite.

Hannah leaned forward in the car seat. Then?

The woman was so distraught that she jumped from Mount Bonnell . . . to her death.

A true drama queen, Jackie murmured.

What was her name? asked Hannah.

Antonette, I think, Mr. Montalvo replied. We’re here, kids.

Mr. Montalvo parked the car. As they got out, Hannah gazed up at an area thick with trees and bushes. A limestone stairway seemed to disappear into the greenery.

Jackie read the sign beside the parked cars. Mount Bonnell, one hundred stairs to the top.

Mr. Montalvo opened his trunk and removed a straw cowboy hat and a small ice chest filled with water bottles. He placed the hat on his head and slammed the trunk closed. That’s everything, he said.

High on the hillside

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  • (4/5)
    This book is a historical fiction written of an event in Texas history. The author makes Texas history interesting to high school age people by inserting modern kids into the events. These modern Austin school kids are transported to the past for an event, then back to our modern world.At the time this book was written, the author had six books in the series which used this approach.The modern children have typical modern personalities, one has a cellphone. The mechanism for transport to the past is a magic trunk that the young people come across from time to time. Every time they open it, they are transported to another past in which a historical Texas event occurred. So this is the sixth time the trunk is encountered and the sixth adventure to the past.This approach is being used in the Magic Treehouse Series as well, by another author who is aiming at a slightly younger age audience.The story occupies 166 pages of the 171 page book, appropriate for high school age young people but not for beginning readers. Numerous paragraphs mention cruelty by the Indians on their pioneer captives, and terror of Indians by those in captivity and other settlers being chased. So I would limit the book in its entirety to high school age kids.Texas Archaeology Society has a very good reference with a title something like "From Dominance to Disappearance" that covers the Indian tribes in Texas through several centuries from just prior to the first European explorers through the end of the 19th century. In that book you can get the framework of why there was so much friction between Indians and settlers. This Plum Creek book does not set the framework for why captives were taken prior to the meeting in San Antonio at the Counsel House.But a story of an event is not a story of the entire century so the author does a fine job with this one event. I thought it was interesting to read and may get a few more of the series.