Gr 4-8 A book that is sure to be popular wherever California history is studied. Following a brief two-page overview of early California history, Dolan introduces seven men who were instrumental in California's development and growth: Father Junipero Serra, John Fremont, John Sutter, Henry Wells and William Fargo, John Muir, and Luther Burbank. In concise, simple language Dolan tells of each man's youth, how he came to be significant in California history, and how his contributions effected that history. The chronological discussion results in a general overview of the highlights of California history: Spanish exploration and the missions; American exploration and the war with Mexico; the Gold Rush; the spread of mail service, transportation and banking; the rising concern of conservationists and the protection of unique natural resources; and the development of California as the home of an incredible variety of food plants and flowers. The writing is not exciting, but it is clear and informative. Intermediate readers may end up with a better grasp of this state's history than the format would suggest; this is a tribute to Dolan's organization and ability to synthesize information. Black-and-white photographs are scattered throughout. Rosie Peasley, Sylvan Union Sch . Dist . , Modesto, Calif.