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Much Ado About Grubstake Hardcover – August 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 810L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; 1 edition (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152057064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152057060
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,020,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8–This story is set in the dilapidated mining town of Grubstake, CO, in 1888. Arley is a 16-year-old who, after her father's death, inherits her family's mine and boarding house where many of the town's down-on-their-luck miners live and where she cooks, cleans, and does everything except actually collect much rent. In the age-old story tradition, a stranger comes to town, and the word is that he wants to buy all of the surrounding mines to turn the area into a resort. Arley, of course, soon figures out that if he wants them so badly there must be more to the story than he's letting on, and so she corrals her fellow Grubstakians into running the greedy man out of town. They are assisted by one of the bad guy's former henchmen who makes an unconvincing turnaround and joins their ragtag group of secondary characters in their even more unbelievable, yet completely predictable, success: not only do they foil the antagonist's plans with a weak tactic that any reader who has ever been to a haunted house will find ridiculous, but there is also the timely discovery of the elusive and profitable osblindium in Arley's mine. This book has love, betrayal, orphans, and angst, and a relatively happy ending, but none of these elements makes this story successful at being either entertainingly melodramatic, like Arley's beloved penny dreadfuls, or fully realized fiction, like Ferris's previous books.–Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. A far cry from the fairy-tale world of Once Upon a Marigold (2002), the setting of Ferris' latest novel is the bedraggled Colorado mining town of Grubstake in 1888. With the exception of a spectacular explosion that killed Arley's father and made her an orphan, nothing ever seems to change in Grubstake, a failed boomtown where she runs a boardinghouse for unsuccessful miners. When a stranger comes to town and offers to buy all the mines, suspicious Arley tries to protect her more gullible boarders while ferreting out the mystery of who wants the mines and why. Grubstake is hardly a romanticized setting, with its mud, grit, and disappointments, but the story lights it up with elements of mystery, humor, and surprise. Tough, independent, lonely Arley makes a sympathetic protagonist; the cast of eccentric characters is original and amusing; and the story of Grubstake is compelling in Ferris' capable hands. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Donna Dean on December 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jean Ferris writes mainly for young people, but her books are guilty pleasures for us oldies too. Her storylines are just goofy enough to snag me and my friends and make us fervent followers. This one is no exception. 16 year old Arly isn't about to let some carpetbagger exploit the vulnerable (and quirky) miners struggling to wrest a living from their played out mines, and she is also determined to save her once-boom town, now almost derelict and deserted town.

While Ferris does clearly differentiate between good and evil, and the morality of the Good Guys obviously makes the outcome of things fairly anticipatory, the books never seem preachy, nor do they obliterate the stories. One develops a distinct fondness for Arly, and her miners' quirks become painless lessons in tolerance of
differences among people. So too does one come to appreciate just plain hard work as Arly simultaneously runs a full boarding house, plays mother hen to her boarders, and deals with her two garbage-loving mutts and their escapades. Then adds in saving Grubstake and finding a solution for her miners with aplomb. Readers will find the book, as are her other books, refreshingly free of graphic sex and violence, and appreciate the feelings of laughter and delight that are the reward for reading books like Much Ado About Grubstake.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rachel on June 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In this book, there is a dusty old town where a sixteen year old girl named Arley lives. She is a tough girl, with a bunch of dogs and grumpy old boarders who had kept forgetting to pay since...well...a long time ago.

It was a good book. Not great, but I don't know why the critics were so harsh. Give it a chance!
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By Kevin D'Elia on January 28, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
fun kids book
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