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SILVER DOLLAR GIRL by Katherine Ayres

SILVER DOLLAR GIRL

By Katherine Ayres

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-385-32763-3
Publisher: Delacorte

A 12-year-old Victorian girl turns adventurer during the Colorado silver boom in this engrossing tale set in 1885. Valentine has been left in the care of her aunt and uncle, while her father is seeking his fortune in Aspen, Colorado. When her cousin Harold shreds her favorite doll (sent to her by her father), Valentine’s anger turns to amazement as she discovers five gold pieces hidden within the doll’s stuffing. With her newfound wealth she hatches a plan to seek her father and, with no other option, decides to travel as a boy. Throughout the long and adventure-filled journey, Valentine meets guttersnipes (train-station orphans), avoids Pinkertons (detectives), and walks 70 miles over Independence Pass. But when she does finally reach Aspen, she is faced with yet another obstacle. Finding a man in a town of thousands of miners and drifters is pretty much impossible. But Valentine secures a job in a café, and with her unsinkable spirit makes the right friends and even winds up a local hero; an act of bravery that eventually reunites her with her father. Valentine’s experience enlightens her as to the different ways boys are received in the world and allows her the benefit of both perspectives. When it is at last safe to return to her skirts and petticoats she finds herself saying, “ I’m a girl, but I’m no sissy . . . I’ll keep my doll, but I’ll keep my boots and my Levi trousers too.” Ayres’s (Family Tree, 1996) well-researched story is fun to read, full of spunk, and should teach a gentle lesson or two as well. (author’s note) (Fiction. 10-12)