Discovery at Flint Springs

Overview

For fourteen-year-old Riley McDaniels and his brother Coy, it looks as though it's going to be a long, hot summer. There's not much to do on the ranch but tend to the cattle, and with no one else around for miles, the brothers have only each other for company. But a surprise visit from their friend Aaron Kaplan changes all of that. Not only does Aaron arrive in an airplane, but he brings an expert on archeology with him. As it turns out, the McDaniels' ranch just might be home to some important archaeological ...

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Overview

For fourteen-year-old Riley McDaniels and his brother Coy, it looks as though it's going to be a long, hot summer. There's not much to do on the ranch but tend to the cattle, and with no one else around for miles, the brothers have only each other for company. But a surprise visit from their friend Aaron Kaplan changes all of that. Not only does Aaron arrive in an airplane, but he brings an expert on archeology with him. As it turns out, the McDaniels' ranch just might be home to some important archaeological sites! Before long, Riley and his family find themselves caught up in the excitement of searching for evidence of ancient people, and learning—sometimes the hard way— just how difficult it can be to protect history

When Dr. Montrose visits their Texas ranch in the summer of 1927, fourteen-year-old Riley and his twelve-year-old brother Coy are drawn into an archaeological adventure.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In this sequel to his first book, Moonshiner's Gold, Erickson brings back 14-year-old Riley McDaniels with a new adventure on his family's West Texas ranch. In this story, Riley and his younger brother, Coy, are drawn into adventure by their mother's friend, Aaron Kaplan and Dr. Montrose, an archeologist who thinks that there might be something of interest to him and fellow archeologists on the Riley ranch. When Riley uncovers what seems to be the foundation of a Woodlands era building, everyone is excited. But when a bunch of site robbers show up and threaten both Riley and the dig, Riley knows that he must take action. Enlisting the aid of Aaron, Coy, and Mrs. McDaniels, Riley defeats the bad guys, allowing Dr. Montrose to return and begin the dig. The archeological pieces of this story resonate well and the story generally moves at a nice pace. There are too many coincidences throughout this book, especially in connection with Vernon and his unsavory gang. But for a male reader looking for a quick read, this book will work. 2004, Viking, Ages 10 to 14.
—Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
VOYA
In this stand-alone sequel to Moonshiner's Gold (Viking, 2001/VOYA October 2001), fourteen-year-old Riley McDaniels and his younger brother, Coy, are bored, bickering, and driving their widowed mother crazy until Aaron Kaplan, a family friend and noted archeologist, flies in and involves the family in an archeological dig on the family's isolated west Texas ranch in the summer of 1937. An unsavory group of pothunters destroys the original site, but the project continues. Riley uses the knowledge he gained from reading an article about archeology at his mother's insistence to become the hero of the moment. He shares useful information with the group and is especially gratified that his girlfriend, Laura Higgins, is there to see his triumph. Later the archeologist publishes his findings in a scholarly journal, and Riley is listed as a co-author. The entire story takes place in a few days. The historical setting is accurate and details about telephone lines and plane rides make the setting come alive. The characters are realistically depicted from the viewpoint of a teenaged boy living in the 1930s. An author's note explains that this novel is based on his work as an amateur archeologist, which is obvious from the meticulous attention to detail used in describing the dig. Erickson's purpose is to share an enthusiasm for archeology and to warn about the urgency of protecting prehistoric sites from amateur plundering. Readers interested in archeology and fans of historical fiction will enjoy this well-written story, but others might find the plot too uneventful. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P M J (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, definedas grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, Viking, 192p., Ages 11 to 15.
—Sherry York
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Riley McDaniels, 14, of Moonshiner's Gold (Viking, 2001) is back in another adventure. On a hot July day in 1927, family friend Aaron Kaplan arrives by plane with an archaeologist from Harvard who wants to survey the family's Texas ranch for ancient Native American sites. Before long, Riley, his younger brother, and their widowed mother are airborne, looking down at their land for possible locations. Dr. Montrose spots an area that he wants to explore, planning to return in a week. In the meantime, it is up to the McDaniels family to protect the site from local pot hunters. Of course, the robbers appear and threaten Riley and his family when he tries to force them to leave. But with help from Aaron (and his plane), the thieves are captured. This fast-moving novel has the flavor of an old Western. The villains are just dangerous enough, and they get their comeuppance in a comic way. Interesting details about archaeology are woven into the narrative as the family and their neighbors work on the site under the direction of Dr. Montrose.-Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Inspired by a real event on his own ranch, Erickson's second visit to the McDaniels' West Texas ranch follows the young hero of Moonshiner's Gold in another adventure set in the 1920s. The low hum of an airplane engine makes Riley and his little brother Coy look up from their task of digging holes in the yard, a punishment from their mother for fighting. The airplane lands, piloted by their friend Aaron Kaplan and carrying Dr. Montrose, a well-known archaeologist. Things become even more interesting when the two tell the boys and their mother that a significant archaeological site might be located on their ranch. Outsmarting thieves, learning how to excavate, and discovering a new civilization are only some of the things on the agenda for the summer. Add to that a possible romance and publication in a scientific journal, and Riley's boring life begins to look much more interesting. Good historical fiction on a less-familiar subject. (Historical fiction. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670059461
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/21/2004
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 870L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

John R. Erickson is the author of Hank the Cowdog.

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