Fiction and Non-Fiction
Ages 8 to 11
Simon and Schuster, 2005, 0-689-84885-4
Bill is bored almost to tears when his friend Joe bursts into the store where Bill works. Joe is carrying armfuls of newspapers and soon the two friends are avidly talking about the headline news: “Gold Strike on the Klondike.” In no time the two young men have pooled all the money that they have and are heading west to Seattle. In Seattle the two set about getting all the supplies that they are going to need. They will not be allowed into Canada if they don’t have a years worth of supplies with them. The young men realize that it is going to be a challenge getting all the supplies into Canada but Joe and Bill really have no idea how much of a challenge it is going to be.
They soon find out though. Once they get to Alaska the two young men have to walk back and forth carrying boxes and bags from the coast to the base of the mountains. Then they have to carry and drag everything up the Chilkoot pass, an icy and almost vertical climb into Canada. If Bill and Joe think that the worst is behind them though, they are very much mistaken.
By telling Bill’s story from his point of view Alice Provensen makes this account personal and gives it a very real feeling of immediacy. Readers will get a true sense of what it must have been like to be a prospector in the Klondike in the late 1800’s. She sets the scene and the reader comes to see what the atmosphere must have been like and how “gold fever” truly took the country by storm. In addition to Bill’s extraordinary story the author also provides additional information for her readers in illustrated panels at the bottom of the double page spreads.
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