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The Colorado Gold Rush of 1859

by Avi

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4231-0519-0
Publisher: Hyperion

Centering on the more-or-less overlooked American gold rush in Colorado, this historical novel follows Early Wittcomb as he travels from Iowa to Pike’s Peak in search of a favorite uncle who set off to find gold and save the family farm from bank foreclosure. Hoping to find his uncle, gold and adventure, Early signs on to help a feckless barber, his sickly wife and his rebellious daughter get to Colorado by Conestoga wagon. This plows some familiar ground in plot and characterization: hardships of the westward crossing, plucky teens who are wiser than their elders, the utter cluelessness of the “Fifty-Niners,” as the emigrant miners were known, and the inevitable disappointment that followed most. What will make this interesting for readers who like action is the relentless foreshadowing of evil and heartbreak, the short chapters, the trademark Avi cliffhangers, sharp attention to interesting (but not overwhelming) historical detail and the many period illustrations and photographs. (Historical fiction. 10-14)