cover image Boom Town

Boom Town

Sonia Levitin. Scholastic, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-30043-5

In this sequel to Nine for California, Levitin and Smith mine a nugget of American history and turn it into picture book gold. Young Amanda's family has survived the three-week stagecoach trip to California and now the boisterous brood is putting down roots near the gold fields, where Pa pans for a fortune. Eager to make the best of their conditions, Amanda improvises with primitive equipment to turn out pies that she can sell to the miners. When she expands and buys more pans, she recommends to the peddler that he set up a trading post, and the boom begins. Soon she's suggesting that others start a laundry, a livery and other businesses that result in a bustling town. Sparked by a historical report of a ""young lady"" who earned $11,000 selling pies, this spunky story makes information about westward expansion pulse with fun. Smith's rollicking, dusty-toned watercolors capture the energy of a developing town and convey the can-do spirit of adventurous settlers. Readers inspired by Amanda's success may want to try the gooseberry pie recipe on the endpapers. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)