After Miss M requested we not do a second consecutive read aloud about the Underground Railroad, I decided to jump back to topic from our previous US History unit. It’s really a “sideways” jump timeline-wise since we are in California in the Gold Rush era for this read-aloud.
I originally had another gold rush-themed book on our book list, but that one had to go back to the library before we had a chance to read it. I had forgotten about By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman while making the list for the Pioneers/Westward migration unit. But then when we needed another book to read, this one came to mind. Tristan had mentioned this in a post earlier this winter as a favorite she wants to revisit with her family and then my memory was again jogged by a couple of recent forum threads where this title was mentioned.
By the Great Horn Spoon follows Jack and his loyal butler Praisworthy as they travel by boat to California to seek their fortune in the gold fields and hopefully pay off family debts. A good part of the book takes place on their months-long journey around South America to California, as they unmask a thief, race another ship heading to San Francisco and even help some fellow passengers solve a difficult conundrum involving spoiling potatoes and dying grapes vines.
Once they arrive in San Francisco, their adventures continue as they try to make their fortunes. They find clever ways to make money, outsmart a burly fighter and make memorable friendships.
While I am not sure how this book rates on the “historical accuracy” scale….my guess is it’s not the most accurate gold rush-themed fiction choice. 😉 But it is certainly FUN! This action-packed story is quite happy for the most part (though the happy endings are not always exactly what you might expect). Miss M was so excited about this book she just couldn’t bear to wait until our next read-aloud time and read some of it on her own. This is a fine independent reading choice for mid-elementary-age students, and even younger kids would enjoy it as a read-aloud (I wish I would have included the boys in this read aloud, as they would have enjoyed it too…I’ll have to read it to them at some point in the near future!).
I’m linking up with Read-Aloud Thursday @ Hope is the Word!