TOS Review: Goldtown Beginnings

Jem Strikes Gold & Jem's Frog Fiasco  {Kregel Publications Reviews}

When a bookworm gets the chance to do a book review, they jump on it, right? I know this bookworm does!

Zakari & I were blessed with the chance to review two books from the Goldtown Beginnings Series, published by Kregel Publications . We received Book 1: Jem Strikes Gold & Book 2: Jem’s Frog Fiasco¬† written by Susan K. Marlow.

Susan K. Marlow is also known for writing Circle C Adventure & Circle C Beginnings series.

What is the Goldtown Beginnings Series About?

The Goldtown Beginnings Series is about a young boy named Jem Coulter and his younger sister Ellie. It takes place in Goldtown, California in the 1800’s. Jem & Ellie take us through their lives, in the height of the gold rush.

This series is written for children ages 6-8 years, but I feel younger children could enjoy it if parents read it aloud to them. It would also be a great series for older kiddos(9-10 years old) who might be struggling to read, and need easier reading materials.

Jem Strikes Gold

goldtown beginnings book cover

The first book in the Goldtown Beginnings series is Jem Strikes Gold. In this book you are introduced to 7 year old Jem, his almost 6 year old sister Ellie, and their Mama & Pa.

Life in Goldtown in the 1800’s is not easy. Jem & his sister are expected to help their family make ends meet. In Jem Strikes Gold, your see how Jem & Ellie deal with bully who makes life very difficult for them. Mama helps the children learn Bible verses to handle mean Will Sterling, instead of fighting back. But can Jem keep his cool?

When the Coulter’s miner friend, Strike comes back to camp with a half grown yellow dog, the kids fall in love. But with times being tight, the family cannot afford another mouth to feed. Can this scrawny dog show Jem & Ellie’s parents he can be a productive member of the family?

Jem’s Frog Fiasco

In Book 2: Jem’s Frog Fiasco, Jem is looking for a job. He knows growing dogs need more meat then his pup Nugget is getting. While delivering pies, Jem scores a job from the local cafe owner, Mr Sim. Mr. Sim wants to add frog legs to his menu, and will pay Jem five whole cents per bullfrog he brings him.

But when Jem’s little sister and dog get in the way, he loses his cool. Because he is preoccupied with catching frogs, he forgets his promise to look out for his little sister, and now she is missing.

Everyone is out looking for Ellie, but Jem is convinced Ellie is just hiding. Until he checks all her usual spots and she’s not there. Can Jem help find Ellie before something terrible happens?

How Did My Family Utilize Theses Books?

My son and I always get excited when new books come in for us to review. Sometimes we put aside what we were already reading to dive into the new book. Well that is exactly what happened when these books arrived.

We used both of these books as a read aloud. Zakari had been under the weather with a virus, so we just cuddled up and enjoyed them together.

New Words Key

One thing that I really appreciate that the author included at the front of each book was a glossary of potentially new words the reader might encounter.

Since Zakari is working with a therapy program that has us introducing new vocabulary words weekly, I was able to use these words with him.

Beautiful Illustrations

My son and I truly loved the pencil sketch illustrations. Their simplicity matched well with the time era of which the story takes place.

What To Know What Other Families Thought?

Be sure to click the banner below! That will lead you to the main TOS Crew Review page. If you scroll to the bottom, you will find 40+ more reviews from other homeschool families, all about the Goldtown Beginnings Series.

Jem Strikes Gold & Jem's Frog Fiasco  {Kregel Publications Reviews}
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2 thoughts on “TOS Review: Goldtown Beginnings

  1. Oh my! Video reviews! How very clever and enjoyable. Thanks so much for going the extra mile and letting me hear and see your sweet review(s). And the little extra about the illustrations will mean a lot to the new illustrator. He is from Turkey (go figure!) and is super excited about this opportunity.
    Thanks again!
    p.s. And yes, there are 4 more books written and scheduled to release in 2020. And the girls’ series is horse and ranch based. You can explore the website to read sample chapters, etc.

    • Thank you for taking the time to come and check out my review. I love it when authors take the time to do that. Please consider my son and I as possible reviewers when you release the other 4 books.

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