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Boom Town Hardcover – March 1, 1998
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From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 4?This charming companion to Nine for California (Orchard, 1996) shows how a California gold-rush town prospered and grew, all thanks to one girl's gooseberry pies. Amanda and her family arrive when the town is just "a stage stop, a pump house, a few log cabins." As her father pans for gold each day, Amanda becomes bored. She digs up an old skillet, picks some berries, and bakes a "hard as a rock" pie in the old wood stove. A few tries later, she gets it right and things start to change. After Pa sells slices to the miners in the gold fields. Amanda gets her brothers to pitch in and expands her pie productions. The fun really starts when she convinces various travelers to stay in town and share their skills. As other craftsmen settle in, the girl's pie business blossoms in the now-thriving town. Amanda's Pa finally gives up the gold-panning life and joins his daughter in the bakery. Now she'll have time for the new school that everyone helped build. Watercolor illustrations capture the lively and humorous spirit of the story. Facial expressions are particularly well drawn, conveying the warmth of family and community amid the chaos of the boom town. Amanda's narration lends just the right touch of humor to an authentic, though exaggerated look at the development of the West. Young readers will particularly enjoy the way the girl subtly manipulates so many adults into contributing to the town's amazing growth.?Steven Engelfried, West Linn Public Library, OR
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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This family goes to California on a stagecoach for twenty-one days. They went with their Pa and Ma, her baby sister Betsy, her brothers Billy Joe and Ted, and her, Amanda. They went to town because there could not be any children at the gold fields. Amanda was helping her family because her dad wasn't finding any gold. So she made a pie and gave it to her dad and then he sold a slice for 50 cents and he came home with his pockets full of change. Do you think that the town is going to be bigger?
My favorite part is when she baked the pie and it got burned so her brothers Billy Joe and Ted threw it high up in the sky and got a stick and hit it and piece of pie went everywhere.
I love this book because it is a cool and funny book.
I will recommend this book to others because it is very awesome and cool and funny.
You should get this book.
I should also mention that this is the second book in a series about Amanda and her family, and I feel that all of the books keep the same lively attitude as this one. Since this book is part of a series, it is possible that younger children could get confused if they are read out of order, so the people who read to them should keep that in mind. I think that these books, when used in a classroom setting, would be a very good segue into a unit on the Wild West or pioneers, especially since they portray girls and women as having minds of thier own and not just as extensions of their families.
This is especially important because many books about the Old West are focused more on boys, and these books have a girl for the main character. All in all, I would recommend this book without any hesitation and I consider it to be a very strong sequel to a powerful first book.