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Call of the Klondike: A True Gold Rush…
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Call of the Klondike: A True Gold Rush Adventure

by David Meissner

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625292,267 (4)None
Traces the true story of prospectors Stanley Pearce and Marshall Bond, who joined thousands of men along the dangerous Chilkoot and White Passes to seek their fortunes in the gold fields of Canada.

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  Bookman1954 | Oct 21, 2015 |
A compelling real-life adventure story that makes excellent use of primary source materials. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
Letters and journal entries help tell the tale of Stanley Pearce and Marshall Bond, two young prospectors who set out for the Klondike in 1897 in search of gold. Their journey on horseback, in boats, and on foot through the Canadian wilderness in sub-zero temperatures covers hundreds of miles, yet they manage to remain in good spirits along the way. Once they reach their destination, they set up camp and begin their quest for gold, meeting interesting characters, like author Jack London. Will they strike it rich or strike out? ( )
  ShellyPYA | Mar 4, 2014 |
Most people are familiar with the California Gold Rush, but fewer know of the Klondike gold rush, nearly fifty years later. Told primarily through source documents, this is the story of the experiences of two men hoping to strike it rich.

Stanley Pearce and Marshall Bond start out their journey to the Klondike with enthusiasm and optimism. Both have experience in the mining industry and their fathers provide capital for what they are sure will be a highly profitable expedition. They start out in advance of the crowd and things are going well, until they hit the first mountain pass. Gradually, their letters and and reports change to a more grim outlook as they encounter more and more troubles and dangers and by the time their year in the Klondike is over, they're more than ready to return home, without the rich reward they so eagerly expected.

Most of the book is composed of excerpts from the two men's letters and diaries, as well as some of the newspaper reports written by Stanley Pearce. The original documents are connected by brief introductions and explanations of the various events and people referenced in the source materials, as well as additional facts about life during the gold rush. Additional information, such as a timeline, authors' notes, and a brief discussion of the effects of the gold rush on native cultures are also included.

I'm in two minds about this one. On the one hand, I found it interesting and the source documents are fascinating - Kim Richardson is the great-great-nephew of Stanley Pearce and supplied all the original documents. There's not a lot written for kids on the Klondike gold rush and I really liked the way the documents were excerpted and the narrative woven together to show the struggles and gradual disappointment. On the other hand, I'm worried that kids used to more fast-paced history and fictional adventures will find this bland and boring. Most of the letters were written to their parents and in the stylistic conventions of the time the more "exciting" events were downplayed. The whole book is pretty low-key and slow-paced.

Verdict: I can't decide. Right now, unless my budget doesn't work out, I'm going to buy it and give it some strong booktalking but if something more interesting comes along I'll let this go. Although it's well-written and I like the layout, I'm just doubtful about it's kid-appeal.

ISBN: 9781590788233; Published October 2013 by Calkins Creek; ARC provided by the publisher at ALA Annual 2013; Added to the library's tentative order list.
  JeanLittleLibrary | Nov 16, 2013 |
When the Alaskan gold rush began in 1897, thousands of men (some more prepared than others) rushed to gather supplies and make their way to Dawson City, Canada, the boom town that was the jumping off point to purchase a share of a claim and work the frozen ground. While some few "struck it rich" many more lost their shirts or dropped out before ever reaching the Klondike fields.

The story is based largely on letters and newspapers stories from Stanley Pearce and Marshall Bond, Yale-educated friends who headed out ahead of the "stampeders", and worked a claim under trying conditions, coming home not much better off than they had left. Authors Meissner and Richardson include many photographs from the time, as well as photos of the handwritten letters.Though the book is in black in white (as are all the photos) frequent enlarged quotes and boxed areas, keep the text lively for the target audience of 8 to 12 year olds. The authors supplement the letters with outside research, and include end notes detailing what happened to some of the major players after the gold rush, a timeline, historical notes and a bibliography.

For those looking for readable nonfiction for tweens, this is a fine story of adventure. Jack London was a neighbor of Pearce and Bond, and later wrote that Buck (the dog in Call of the Wild) was based on a dog owned by Marshall Bond. Readers who enjoyed Victoria McKernan's historical fiction book Shackelton's Stowaway, or Martin Sandler's The Impossible Rescue might enjoy this story of adventure.

About me: I'm a middle school/high school librarian
How I got this book: advance reading copy from the publisher ( )
  Knappm | Sep 1, 2013 |
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Stanley Pearce and Marshall Bond were in Seattle, Washington, when it happened. On July 17, 1897, sixty-eight rugged miners stepped off the S.S. Portland steamship and made their way through the excited crowd. They were carrying large sacks filled with the most precious fetal in the world - gold.
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