How to Get Rich In the California Gold Rush
Tod Olson (Author), Scott Allred (Illustrator), Marc Aronson (Afterword)
Booklist *Starred Review*
…the How to Get Rich series deftly blends story with history to not only give readers an understanding of a gold rush but also to provide a lighthearted and engaging entry point into frontier life. The story (with a tongue-in-
cheek claim to be true) follows three young men as they decide to try their luck as prospectors out west. Period lithographs are reproduced alongside original illustrations, all lending to the historical feel of the gold rush era, as the young men embark upon their journey, meet with moderate but backbreaking success, fall apart when they run out of money, and eventually all set out on their own to pursue different means of getting rich.
This is where the book really shines—showing how very few people actually got rich panning and mining for gold, but demonstrating that a vast number claimed shares of wealth by creating the various trades and services necessary to support the influx of people bustling into the new towns out west. A ledger on each page tracks the young men’s finances in a genuinely exciting way, adding a sly element of math to this well-conceived and compulsively appealing book. Kids won’t even realize how much they’re learning. Grades 4-8. –Ian Chipman