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THE KLONDIKE CAT by Julie Lawson

THE KLONDIKE CAT

By Julie Lawson (Author) , Paul Mombourquette (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 1-55337-013-9
Publisher: Kids Can

There are many ways to make your fortune, as a boy and his father serendipitously find when they relocate to the Klondike wilderness during the gold rush. Noah disobeys his father’s wishes by bringing the family cat, Shadow, on the arduous journey to their new home in gold country. Noah and his Pa must work hard to move the huge bulk of supplies downriver, and Pa condescends to allow Shadow along if she is no trouble, therefore Noah balances his heavy loads with concerns over the beloved kitty. With hard work, courage, and aplomb, the pair reaches their goal in the end only to find the gold claims are either staked already or too expensive. There is no room for sentimentality in the Klondike, and Lawson (Destination Gold!, not reviewed, etc.) never mentions what has happened to the mother, but she uses other realistic touches such as the kitty disappearing into the ship on the first leg of the trip, creating a believable slice of robust American pioneer history. She trudges her characters up hill, down dale, and over a snow-covered mountain to a hard-flowing river. In the end, Shadow brings them luck and financial reward so the trio can start their new lives together after all. Mombourquette’s (Fog Cat, 1999, etc.) illustrations are broad brushed and colorful, evoking the gritty spirit that opened this last frontier. A lengthy historical note includes a synopsis of the actual history of the territory and era addressed in the story. (Picture book 5-9)