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By the Great Horn Spoon! Paperback – April 30, 1988

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Two tales of trickery and exaggeration by the Newbery Medalist feature adventures in the Old West and during the California Gold Rush. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7–Listeners are in for a treat with this satisfying reading of Sid Fleischman's novel (Little, 1963). Brimming with riveting adventure, the story is set during the Gold Rush. The fast-moving plot follows the high spirited young Jack and his aunt's faithful butler, Praiseworthy, as they set out to strike it rich in order to support the financially strapped and beloved Aunt Arabella. As Jack and the loyal butler travel by sea and land, the pair meet a series of memorable characters such as the daring, crusty sea Captain Swain and the diabolical Cut-Eye Higgins. The individual personalities of the characters are reflected through the expressive voices rendered by the large cast of 24 readers. Jack and Praiseworthy are the most well-rounded characters. While some of the readers use more expression than others, Willard E. Lape, Jr.'s strong narration is crisp and well-paced. Bouncy folk-style music, appropriate to the historical setting, separates each chapter. This entertaining production is a worthy purchase for libraries with large children's audio collections.–Lynn K. Vanca, Akron-Summit County Public Library, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 30, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316286125
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316286121
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Since his autobiography, The Abracadabra Kid: A Writer's Life, was published in 1996, Sid Fleischman has been stealing the spotlight with his exuberant brand of nonfiction. Sir Charlie: Chaplin, the Funniest Man in the World is Fleischman's fourth true tale, following the widely acclaimed The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West and the best-selling Escape! The Story of The Great Houdini.
Fleischman's books have been made into films, performed as plays, and translated into nineteen languages. The author was awarded the Newbery Medal for The Whipping Boy.
Sid Fleischman lives in Santa Monica, California.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 65 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
When I was nine, I read this book. At age 40, I read the same copy to my children, ages ten and eight. As much as I enjoyed reading it the first time, reading it out loud was a much richer experience.
The writing flows naturally, and encourages a great variation in expression. The adventure truly comes out in the reader's voice. I am an actor, but I felt that this story would bring out the actor in anybody.
The story was so exciting and surprising that long reading sessions never dragged. At several points, my children threw themselves down on the floor and yelled, "Oh my gosh!"
This experience brought it all together for me, if I may speak personally: books, performing, involvement with my children, a classic story that I relished as a child myself. Those evenings added up to the happiest time of my life.
The plot concerns a boy who runs away during the California gold rush--with his butler!--to try to get his family out of debt. The adventures along the way are episodic, and each episode is an amazing and believable story in itself. Every step in the journey is given full attention: the voyage from Boston to San Francisco, the trip to the gold fields, the experiences among the miners. There are plenty of colorful characters, and plenty of opportunities for the two main characters to grow. There are also several threads that run through the whole story, maintaining suspense. Their resolution is unpredictable and satisfying.
There was very little in the book that could make a parent squirm, and very little that sounded out of date. But there were three moments that made me pause: 1) There is a fist fight, though it is handled in a light-hearted way. 2) There is a reference to corporal punishment when an adult threatens to "take a hairbrush" to a child.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Konrei on August 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
BY THE GREAT HORN SPOON! is written for younger readers but is a delightful light read even for adults, who will get through this book in one sitting.

The story concerns young Jack Flagg of Boston and his faithful manservant Praiseworthy who, upon discovering that Jack's foster Aunt Arabella is virtually penniless, decide to set out for the California Gold Rush and save the family from poverty. Along the way, Jack and Praiseworthy have numerous adventures (they are forced to stow away aboard ship, they run afoul of the highwayman Cut-Eye Higgins, Praiseworthy, a model of rectitude, becomes renowned in the gold fields as "Bullwhip," the man who can win any fight, and they strike it rich), through all of which they persevere, largely because of their wit, their intelligence, and their reliance on each other. BY THE GREAT HORN SPOON! is a wonderful lesson in the nature of true friendship.

A fun story with a fine sense of historical place and memorably colorful characters, BY THE GREAT HORN SPOON! is a story for children of all ages.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A teacher on January 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
It's 1849. Gold has been discovered in California. Twelve-year-old Jack, at home in Boston, needs money to save the family home. His solution? Stowaway on a ship bound for the goldfields. Find some gold. Return home. Easy? Not on your life! Lucky for Jack, his butler (with the endearing name of Praiseworthy) stows away also. Together these two gold seekers get in and out of numerous adventures and meet colorful characters with names like Pitch-pine Billy and Mountain Ox as they wander around the gold fields trying to "strike it rich".

I read this wonderful, tongue-in-cheek historical novel aloud to the students in my class when we studied the California Gold Rush. They always wanted "one more chapter" and joined in with Jack's adventures wholeheartedly. We all were surprised at the twist at the end of the book! Highly recommended
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
By the Great Horn Spoon is such an exciting book! Jack Flagg and his butler Praiseworthy set out to the gold fields to save his Aunt Arabella's fortune. They go on sea journey and are headed to the gold mines. On the way, they meet some hilarious people. In the gold country, everyone has a nickame. In this book, you'll find the most hilarious nicknames.This book is so funny that you will have a stomach ache from laughing and it is so good that you will not be able to put it down. While you are busy enjoying the book, you will be learnig about the gold rush in the year 1912 in San Francisco, California.This book is good for both adults and children. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading a funny, interesting, and exciting book.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Remaster Mark on March 2, 2006
Format: Audio Cassette Verified Purchase
My class has a class set of this book and applauded when it was done. Great way to personalize the Gold Rush.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Larry Wiener on March 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am a 4th/5th grade teacher. I used this book as a core novel in class and it worked extremely well.
Both my students and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The hilarious antics of Jack and Praiseworthy taught my students a great deal about the gold rush and about US and world geography while they were being entertained by the story. I was able to use the book as the basis for a host of writing and other activities.
The richness of the language, especially the similies, made the book a great model for teaching writing.
The book held the interest both of boys and girls alike. If you are a child looking for a good book to read, check out this one. If you are a parent or teacher looking for a book that is both high in quality and interesting to children, you will be glad to selected this book.
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