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In a brief rhyming story set during the gold rush, Jasper leaves his family and farm for California to pursue his dream of finding gold, but discovers that panning for gold is dirty, backbreaking work.
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Grade 2-4-Twenty rhyming quatrains in trochaic dimeter tell of family man Jasper's leaving his farm to seek his fortune during the Gold Rush of 1849. It's a hard and dangerous pilgrimage to the West, fighting the elements as well as the unfriendly fauna. Then there's the backbreaking work of prospecting combined with dealing with the numerous and equally frustrated prospectors. Discouraged, Jasper packs up and returns to his family and it's, "Back to farmhouse,/ Chickens, cow,/Barnyard, fences,/Pitchfork, plow." While children will enjoy the rhythm of this laconic tale, supplemental narrative may be necessary to fill in the period details and define mining terminology such as "sluicing," "vein," and "claim," not to mention the arcane "long tom" (a gold-washing trough). Nonetheless, Kay's personalized approach to history is a hoot. Schindler's colored-pencil drawings on brown, flecked paper are detailed, visually fleshing out the mining process and are often humorous, showing bumper-to-bumper covered wagons heading to California, circling vultures on the hot trail, erect grizzlies scaring miners way up into trees, and, finally, Jasper gratefully kissing his cow upon his humble return to the farm. This is a terrific read-aloud that painlessly introduces children to the unique American folly that played a significant role in expansionism.
John Sigwald, Unger Memorial Library, Plainview, TX
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Kay debuts with a rollicking tale about an idealistic farmer's quest for gold and glory during the gold rush of 1849. Jasper's dreams of discovering gold lead him on a journey westward, leaving farm and family behind. However, Jasper is dismayed at the hardships he encounters while searching for the elusive metal. Albeit brief, Kay's minimalist verses, set in sing-song rhymes, convey their message with piercing clarity. ``Icy water,/Wet feet, cold./Sluicing, panning,/`Where's the gold?'/Grumpy miners,/Nuggetssmall/Jasper scowling,/Fireside brawl.'' Increasingly disgruntled and disillusioned, Jasper has a close encounter with a rattlesnake that prompts his return home. Back in the cozy comfort of his farm, the resilient Jasper benignly waves on other aspiring miners, wishing them well. Kay realistically depicts the wild expectations that caused so many to abandon their way of life to gamble on a long shot and the often harsh conditions they encountered in California. Schindler's detailed illustrations, executed in colored pencil, provide readers with a glimpse into a forty-niner's world. As an introduction to a vital piece of American history, it's wryly humorous and unflinchingly candid. (Picture book. 4-8) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Putnam Juvenile, 1999. Hardcover. Condition: New. Brand New!. Seller Inventory # VIB0399230270
Book Description Putnam Juvenile, 1999. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110399230270
Book Description Putnam Juvenile, 1999. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0399230270
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STRM-0399230270
Book Description Putnam Juvenile, 1999. Condition: New. BEST BUY.BRAND NEW.OFX/DD. Seller Inventory # 800490
Book Description Putnam Juvenile, 1999. Hardcover. Condition: New. First Edition. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 0399230270n