By the Great Horn Spoon! – 5 Star Book Review

By the Great Horn Spoon!

by Sid Fleischman

Published in 1963, this children’s historical fiction book was such a pleasure to read along with my boys! I homeschool both my 4th and 5th grade kiddos, and we have been studying the Gold Rush for history. This book was recommending as a fun, adventure seeking novel about a 13-year-old boy that partakes in the California Gold Rush. It’s about a 200-page chapter book, with some simple pen illustrations woven throughout. 

The story follows our main character, Jack, and his butler, Praiseworthy. Both set sail to California via ship from Boston in hopes to strike it rich by gold digging. I loved Jack and Praiseworthy’s relationship and found that this book set a lot of good examples and talking points for desired character traits I’d like my kids to embrace. It was funny, heartwarming, exciting, and appropriate for any age. However, the reading level is suggested for beginning 5th graders so keep in mind reading level ability for comprehension.

The first half of the story is comprised of the sea voyage to California, and the second half is the experience of California itself along with gold digging adventures. Which was fantastic, because a huge part about the Gold Rush was the route and travels to the West Coast. Many misfortunes and trials happen along this adventure, and it was hilarious to see all the clever and intuitive ways our characters navigated themselves. This story provided time relevant vocabulary, experiences, and had an immersive setting that really draws the reader into the time period. The book was not only highly educational but landed a spot on my kiddo’s favorite books list (and I loved it too)! Whether you are reading this book for educational reasons or entertainment, I think all will find the story cute and heartwarming. A five star read and classic for any middle grade reading shelf!

Reviewed by Coco

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