In the First Book series, copper comes out ahead of gold. In contrast to Olive Burt's interesting, revealing treatment of the former (8, J-8), historically documented and technically detailed, this is strictly surface mining--a contrast we mention not only to deter buying by label but also to place the present volume. The processes of ""finding, mining, testing and refining gold"" are briefly described, with just about enough information for the child's own report and illustrations which show machinery rather than step-by-step methods; the current uses of gold and its role in ancient civilizations are mentioned and pictured, also briefly. Especially superficial is the account of ""alchemists and adventurers""--the latter including Cortes and Pizarro; more particularized is the reprise of the three great nineteenth century gold rushes (California, Australia, the Klondike). ""Gold in the world today"" defines gold standard, refers to international payments, ignores all problems of adjustment. A final chapter encourages panning for fun, seeking pirate treasure and lost mines for profit (including the Lost Dutchman which has been located--empty). For fourth graders, this might be the first book; older children will need a second.