Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Legends of the West: Annie Oakley

Legends of the West: Annie Oakley

Sara Gilbert
For ages 12 and up
The Creative Company, 2005   ISBN: 978-1583413340

As the daughter of poor farmers, petite Annie Moses quickly learned how to cook, clean, help in the fields and hunt. She especially liked to go hunting with her brothers and much preferred being outdoors to having to stay in a house doing domestic chores. After her father died and left the family in desperate financial difficulties, Annie bravely went to work at the Darke County Infirmary knowing full well that her wages were essential for the survival of her family.

Five or so years later Annie went back home to her family to find that matters had not improved much. So Annie took up her father’s rifle and began hunting for a living. The game that Annie caught soon became popular with fancy restaurants and she did so well in her little business that she was able to pay off all the family debts.

Annie’s skill as a sharpshooter became well known and she began to compete in competitions. One day Annie was encouraged to compete against Frank E. Butler, a famous marksman, and much to the astonishment of Butler, Annie won. She also won his heart and soon after the two were married. It was about this time that Annie took the stage name “Oakley.”

Annie and her husband toured the country giving demonstrations of their skills and then in 1885 they joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. There can be do doubt that as a member of the show Annie was a huge success and a very popular crowd pleaser. No matter where the show went Annie was sure to leave the audience in awe of her skills.

Readers will delighted to discover that here, at least, they will find a true ‘rags to riches’ tale which has a happy ending. Not only did Annie become world famous but she also did so with grace and dignity. Annie and her husband never forgot their own lean times and helped many other people, being generous with their money and their time.

With wonderful contemporary scenic photographs and lots of annotated period ones, this excellent biography gives the reader a bright and clear picture of what little Annie Oakley was like.