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Buffalo Thunder
Author: Patricia Wittmann
Ages: All Ages-Easy
Topic: American bison, buffalo, Families, Frontier & Pioneer life, Oregon Trail, Wagon trails
Genre: Fiction
The Isaac family is heading west in a prairie schooner. Young Karl Isaac tells his experiences on the journey. He sees many things, but he dreams of seeing buffalo. Karl finally gets his wish. The stampede of buffalo is an incredible sight, but it almost turns into a disaster. We can almost taste the dust!! Karl will always remember the sight of the buffalo, the thundering noise, and how the wagons shook.

Beyond the Book

Use the Internet Connections below to find resources needed to complete the following activities:
  • Read the online story titled Across the Plains by Prairie Schooner.
  • Make your own story of adventure while traveling West in your prairie schooner.
  • Plan a trip to the frontier on the Oregon Trail. Make a list of items you will need to take including transportation, equipment, clothing, and food.
  • Make a list of the personal things would you like to take on the trip. Now, decide which items will need to stay home because of the amount of space you have and weight.
  • Play the MECC computer game called Oregon Trail.
  • Make a series of pictures showing what you saw while traveling West with Karl Isaac.
  • Create a map showing the route that Karl probably took.
  • Discuss what you have learned about life on the trails to the West in the frontier days.
  • Learn about the history of the buffalo. Create a timeline and map showing what's happened to the buffalo since the time of the Oregon Trail.
  • Read an excerpt from a pioneer diary. Compare their experiences to the Isaac family.
  • The cover of the book shows buffalo in the clouds. Create your own cloud illustration of an animal you might see on the Oregon Trail.
Internet Connections
All about the Oregon Trail
Historic Sites on the Oregon Trail
American Bison Information
History of Bison
Pictures & Facts from the National Park Service
Bison Photos
Friends of the Prairie-buffalo
Pioneer Diaries & Emigrant Biographies
Author and Book Connections
Patricia Wittmann's own ancestors crossed the country on the Oregon Trail in 1845 to settle in Oregon. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
Read other books by the same author:
Buffalo Thunder
Go Ask Giorgio!
The Window Garden
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Created by
Annette Lamb, 6/99.