Gold! Gold from the American River!: January 24, 1848: The Day the Gold Rush Began

Gold! Gold from the American River!: January 24, 1848: The Day the Gold Rush Began

by Don Brown
     
 

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When James Marshall found a small, soft shiny stone in a California stream, he knew it could only be one thing: Gold! His cry of discovery would be heard around the world. In the third installment of Don Brown's Actual Times series, Gold! Gold from the American River! is the story of the California gold rush--the uncharted journey across hostile land, the

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Overview

When James Marshall found a small, soft shiny stone in a California stream, he knew it could only be one thing: Gold! His cry of discovery would be heard around the world. In the third installment of Don Brown's Actual Times series, Gold! Gold from the American River! is the story of the California gold rush--the uncharted journey across hostile land, the laborious process of panning for gold, the success of savvy entrepreneurs, and the fortunes of the marginalized, from slaves and American Indians to women and foreigners.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Brown (All Stations, Distress!) adds another installment to his Actual Times series, this time focusing on the California Gold Rush, using numerous primary source quotes to flesh out the lively chronology. "You're working in freezing water up to your waist for hours at a time. You're reaching down, moving rocks." Readers hear from participants in all aspects of the story, from the initial gold find near Sutter's Mill in 1848 to the treacherous migration of fortune seekers (one route even took travelers on "a harrowing jungle tramp across the Isthmus" of Panama) and the often disappointing, impoverished endings to gold diggers' efforts. Full-bleed watercolors, rich in dusty brown and gray hues, fill the pages, illustrating not only the 49ers' hardships, but also the role of women and the plight of foreigners and Native Americans who crossed miners' paths, as one graphic illustration reveals ("The California Indians' tragic fate is a national shame" writes Brown). This well-researched account details how several things originated from the country's gold fever—such as the idiom "pans out," Levi Strauss jeans, and the dramatic expansion of the city of San Francisco. Ages 6–10. (Feb.)
Horn Book Magazine

There are many other short, illustrated, cartoony books about the Gold Rush for the elementary age range, but this one manages to combine pathos and humor, and to communicate much with an engaging and brief text, making it a first-choice introduction to the subject.
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—This colorful book recounts the discovery of gold in the American West circa 1848. From James Marshall's discovery through the treacherous trip by more than 300,000 migrants willing to leave home to try their luck, Brown relates their history through firsthand accounts from the Library of Congress and personal stories of success and failure. The author offers facts and describes experiences to show the arduous travel, toil, and suffering that the forty-niners found at their destination. The full-page pen-and-ink and watercolor artwork surrounds the text nicely with detailed maps and realistic vignettes of the travelers' and miners' lives. The author does not hesitate to reveal the darker side of mining communities. One illustration vividly depicts the shotgun murder of an American Indian, with a description of the tragic fate of many Indians in the goldfields through violence, disease, and enslavement. The book presents a thorough description of a unique period in American history, illustrated in a manner to attract younger readers.—Mary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano ISD, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Watercolors and text depict the story of the discovery of gold in the Territory of California. It is an exciting tale of special interest to Californians and marks a key period in U.S. history. Unfortunately, this book fails to convey both excitement and description of characters, of which the time and place had many. The author tells of the discovery at Sutter's Mill and of Sam Brannan's shouted news in Yerba Buena (later San Francisco), which caused the Rush. Why not say more about Brannan, an interesting cad? Why not more about John Sutter, a disappointed man? The remainder of the book relates the experiences of the emigrants and the successes and failures of the gold hunters, but this breadth of approach reduces the overall energy of the book. Readers may find themselves wishing for both a glossary—what was meant by the "cradles" miners used?—and a map. Brown's illustrations show scenes and representations of persons but are not really helpful. The California Gold Rush was energetic, thrilling and important. Alas, this book is none of those things. (author's note, sources)(Nonfiction. 8-10)
Booklist

The inventive page compositions and scratchy watercolor cartoon figures carry small, telling dramas (the tiny grin that punctuates a successful panner's face is priceless), and sweeping western landscapes come into full relief, bringing not only visual context but a sense of playfulness to the book. A solid look at an eventful period in American history.
BCCB

The harmony of narration, wry watercolor pictures, and quotes from the miners themselves nonetheless makes this an engaging introduction for children who are just beginning to explore historical accounts beyond their social studies textbooks.
The Horn Book Magazine

There are many other short, illustrated, cartoony books about the Gold Rush for the elementary age range, but this one manages to combine pathos and humor, and to communicate much with an engaging and brief text, making it a first-choice introduction to the subject.
From the Publisher

"There are many other short, illustrated, cartoony books about the Gold Rush for the elementary age range, but this one manages to combine pathos and humor, and to communicate much with an engaging and brief text, making it a first-choice introduction to the subject." —The Horn Book Magazine

"The inventive page compositions and scratchy watercolor cartoon figures carry small, telling dramas (the tiny grin that punctuates a successful panner’s face is priceless), and sweeping western landscapes come into full relief, bringing not only visual context but a sense of playfulness to the book. A solid look at an eventful period in American history." —Booklist

"The book presents a thorough description of a unique period in American history, illustrated in a manner to attract younger readers." —School Library Journal

"The harmony of narration, wry watercolor pictures, and quotes from the miners themselves nonetheless makes this an engaging introduction for children who are just beginning to explore historical accounts beyond their social studies textbooks." —BCCB
 
"This well-researched account details how several things originated from the country's gold fever—such as the idiom 'pans out,' Levi Strauss jeans, and the dramatic expansion of the city of San Francisco." —Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596432239
Publisher:
Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
02/15/2011
Series:
Actual Times Series, #3
Pages:
64
Sales rank:
933,353
Product dimensions:
7.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
1010L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Don Brown is the author and illustrator of many highly praised picture-book biographies and histories for children. He lives on Long Island, New York.

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