Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Gold Rush Fever: A Story of the Klondike, 1898

Gold Rush Fever: A Story of the Klondike, 1898

Barbara Greenwood
Illustrator:  Heather Collins 
For ages 8 to 12
Kids Can Press, 2001   ISBN: 978-1550748505

Tim is very excited for he and his elder brother Roy are off for the gold fields in the Klondike. People all over the country have heard about the gold rush up there and many of them are eager to make their fortune by digging up the precious metal out of the cold ground. This not a trip for the fainthearted for Tim and his brother, along with thousands of other people, have a long and hard journey ahead of them.

As Tim and Roy struggle their way through the freezing lands of the north, climbing large mountains with punishing loads on their backs, Tim begins to wonder if this journey is worth all the misery he, Roy and Pal the dog are suffering. It doesn’t help that Roy seems to be in a permanent bad mood and the fact the Tim and Roy’s future depends on being able to find gold once they get to the gold fields.

It turns out that finding gold is not as easy as one would think for it is not simply lying on the ground; the precious metal has to be dug up out of the ground or panned for. It is hard life for Tim and Roy and the brothers are both worried about their future. Will they be able to find enough gold to make a new life for themselves somewhere?

This superbly researched book gives the reader an extraordinary look at what life in the Klondike must have been like in the late 1880’s. Not only is there Tim’s story to follow, but the author provides an enormous amount of additional information to set the scene for the story and to make the events described more alive. In addition the author provides several activities that children can do for themselves. These include experiencing what it might have been like to carry loads of supplies over the Chilkoot, and a recipe for sourdough biscuits which children can make. The book is filled with black and white illustrations, maps, and diagrams.