Gold Fever

Rosalyn Schanzer, Author National Geographic Society $17.95 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7922-7303-5
Plying the same visually jam-packed format she used to great advantage in How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis and Clark, Schanzer here turns from the lucid narrative provided by Lewis's diary to a more atmospheric account of the California Gold Rush. She begins with the January 1848 discovery of gold at Sutter's mill and--in comic book-style panels accompanied by snippets from actual diaries, letters and newspaper accounts--follows the topsy-turvy routes by land and sea to the hustle and bustle of the West Coast boomtowns. Employing such first-hand quotes as ""I hate to desert. I am almost crazy, as I have the gold fever shocking bad"" from a California soldier's letter to his brother in Boston, Schanzer vivifies the past and weaves her information together thematically (old-fashioned handbill style typeface announces such subjects as ""Off to the Diggings"" and ""Night Life""). This overview, with its brief, digestible chunks, will likely tempt the appetites of budding historians, and the visual structure keeps the pace brisk. An author's note at the end puts into context the engaging historical anecdotes. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
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