The Imaginary Journeys of BJ and Dobbin by Betty J. Riordan
(Xulon Press, November 2008)
The Imaginary Journeys of BJ and Dobbin is a collection of bedtime stories involving a little girl named BJ and her rocking horse, Dobbin. During those times when she is getting ready for bed, BJ imagines Dobbin trotting off with her, the pair taking an imaginary journey into history. The chapters are about people and places that made America what it is today. Each chapter ends the same: with BJ's mother tapping her shoulder to tell her to get off her rocking horse and go to bed. It is at that moment BJ realizes it was just an imaginary journey and yet her experience has taught her much. The stories bring to mind BJ being a much older child than what she actually is.
Have you ever imagined going back in time, meeting various kinds of people in history? It would make one wonder: How did they dress? What foods did they eat? What was their family life like? Who were their friends? The answers to some of those questions can be found in this story. Some of the people BJ learned more about are Christopher Columbus and other explorers, Sacagawea, Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross, Daniel Boone, Patsy Washington (George Washington’s wife), Abraham Lincoln, the Statue of Liberty, the Wright Brothers, and other notable personages.
This book brings up some great historical information that children of all ages will be able to learn from. It helps the reader become consumed in a specific moment in time and understand what it might have been like to live in that time period or to be involved in a certain situation. Furthermore, the narrative helps readers to understand better the adversities some of the people in our past had to endure, or the reasoning behind why some of them did what they did.
This collection of imaginary journeys brings up some great questions that children will be able to learn from that may help them write about specific historical figures when required by the school curriculum. It also might fire up a child’s imagination, inspiring him or her to ask other, more in-depth questions. Upper elementary-age children will benefit from this creative learning tool.