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Jasper and the Riddle of Riley's Mine
     

Jasper and the Riddle of Riley's Mine

5.0 1
by Caroline Starr Rose
 

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Hoping to strike it rich, two brothers escape an abusive father and set out on a treacherous journey to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush.
 
Desperate to get away from their drunkard of a father, eleven-year-old Jasper and his older brother Melvin often talk of running away, of heading north to Alaska to chase riches beyond their wildest dreams.

Overview

Hoping to strike it rich, two brothers escape an abusive father and set out on a treacherous journey to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush.
 
Desperate to get away from their drunkard of a father, eleven-year-old Jasper and his older brother Melvin often talk of running away, of heading north to Alaska to chase riches beyond their wildest dreams. The Klondike Gold Rush is calling, and Melvin has finally decided the time to go is now—even if that means leaving Jasper behind. But Jasper has other plans, and follows his brother aboard a steamer as a stowaway.

Onboard the ship, Jasper overhears a rumor about One-Eyed Riley, an old coot who's long since gone, but is said to have left clues to the location of his stake, which still has plenty of gold left. The first person to unravel the clues and find the mine can stake the claim and become filthy rich. Jasper is quick to catch gold fever and knows he and Melvin can find the mine—all they have to do is survive the rough Alaskan terrain, along with the steep competition from the unscrupulous and dangerous people they encounter along the way.

In an endearing, funny, pitch-perfect middle grade voice, Caroline Starr Rose tells another stellar historical adventure young readers will long remember.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Jasper and the Riddle of Riley’s Mine:
An Amazon Best of the Month Pick for February 2017 – Ages 9-12 

“[I]t's the brothers' struggle to survive the Yukon wilderness with its harsh beauty and unforgiving cold that will keep readers entranced.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“[A] rousing historical adventure . . . Highly recommended for fans of adventure and historical fiction, or as a classroom read-aloud.”—School Library Journal
 
“Jasper’s voice and Caroline Starr Rose’s writing style brought her characters alive, bursting with warmth and spirit. The rich details and historically accurate setting took me back to the era of the Gold Rush.”—Terry Lynn Johnson, author ofIce Dogs and Falcon Wild
 
Jasper and the Riddle of Riley’s Mine takes two brothers and plunks them right into a hair-raising journey to the goldfields of Canada. It’s a rollicking adventure, warm and funny, chockablock with bad guys and good guys, mysteries and deceptions, dangers and disasters. With courage and persistence, Melvin and the delightful Jasper discover the true meaning of riches, friendship, and family. It’s a rip-roaring tale and a romping good read. Try to resist!”—Karen Cushman, Newbery Medalist for The Midwife’s Apprentice

School Library Journal
02/01/2017
Gr 4–7—The dreams and dangers of the 1879 Klondike gold rush fuel Rose's first novel in prose, and it's a rousing historical adventure. By the end of the first chapter, news of the strikes reaches 11-year-old Jasper and 16-year-old Melvin's rural Washington town. The brothers quickly forsake their abusive father and set out for the gold fields of Canada. Harsh weather and physical challenges aren't the only perils along the way. Stampeders are more likely to steal from than help one another, especially two boys traveling alone. Tall tales of gold that grows on trees keep the brothers' hopes high; Jasper is spurred on by the legend of a million-dollar stake abandoned by miner One-Eyed Riley, who left behind a series of riddles leading to the gold. It's unlikely that readers will be able to solve the riddles and locate Riley's claim on the included map, but that won't deter them. Rose's carefully plotted clues, along with colorful supporting characters and narrow escapes, keep the pace brisk until Jasper finds Riley's mine in a suspenseful climax. Complementing a narrative rich in details about life on the frontier, the author's note provides more intriguing facts, including profiles of characters in the book who were true historical figures. VERDICT Highly recommended for fans of adventure and historical fiction, or as a classroom read-aloud.—Marybeth Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY
Kirkus Reviews
2016-12-14
News that gold's been discovered in northern Canada has just arrived in 1897 Seattle; learning that his brother, Mel, has joined the stampede of amateur prospectors, Jasper, 11, follows him north.With their mother dead and their father alcoholic and unemployed, Mel, 16, was the family breadwinner. Feeling hurt and abandoned, afraid Mel might send him home, Jasper sneaks onto the ship that will take them to Skagway, Alaska. Jasper's brought along their father's gold pocket watch and mother's washboard; resourceful and determined, he trades his laundry services for a place to sleep and money for food, avoiding capture as a stowaway. The prospectors embarking on this long, dangerous journey to the Klondike as winter approaches are rough, dishonest, and highly credulous (even Jasper questions whether Yukon gold litters the ground or grows on trees). But like them, Jasper's spellbound by the story of One-Eyed Riley, an unhinged prospector who abandoned his valuable claim but left clues to its whereabouts. Untold riches await the miner who solves the riddles. Jasper narrates in the present tense, his homespun voice evoking both emotion and adventure. Rose milks the setting for all it's worth. Jasper and Mel are both white. Villains and allies provide colorful melodrama, but it's the brothers' struggle to survive the Yukon wilderness with its harsh beauty and unforgiving cold that will keep readers entranced. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399168116
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
02/07/2017
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
177,638
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile:
750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 Years

Meet the Author

Caroline Starr Rose spent her childhood in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and New Mexico, camping at the Red Sea in one and eating red chile in the other. As a girl she danced ballet, raced through books, composed poetry on an ancient typewriter, and put on magic shows in a homemade cape. She's taught both social studies and English in New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, and Louisiana. In her classroom, she worked to instill in her students a passion for books, an enthusiasm to experiment with words, and a curiosity about the past. She is the author of the critically acclaimed novels in verse May B. and Blue Birds. Caroline lives in New Mexico with her husband and two sons.

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Jasper and the Riddle of Riley's Mine 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
MI_Reader 16 days ago
Full of mystery and adventure, this is a fast-paced historical fiction story that keeps you on the edge of your seat. With tons of information about the Klondike gold rush, it shares the story of Jasper and his brother Melvin who end up following the rush in their search for gold. One of the best aspects of this book is the relationship between Jasper and Mel. Through all their adventure and troubles, they stick together and trust each other like only brothers can. It amazed me at all the hardships they endured. Without giving anything away, the ending was a surprise too, and I love when book endings surprise me! I enjoyed this story and think middle-graders will especially love reading Jasper's tale. I received an ARC from the author for my honest opinion. All thoughts are my own.