I recently had the opportunity to review a book from Susan Marlow and Kregal Publications. We received Badge of Honor, the first book in the new Goldtown Adventures series for 9-12 year olds. At first I was going to have Chantry read the story, but decided on a read aloud to help occupy time while his older brother and sister were away at church camp. This turned out to be a great decision.
Badge of Honor is set in 1864 during the last days of the Gold Rush. Though Jeremiah "Jem" Coulter's claim along Cripple Creek is played out, he still loves to pan for gold hoping the "strike it rich" someday. He also sells frog legs and firewood to help his dad and his sister, Ellie, to survive on their ranch.
Jem's life is turned upside down when his father becomes the sheriff for the lawless Goldtown. Then to make matters worse his Aunt Rose, along with his city slicker cousin, Nathan, arrive from the east to start a new life. Jem is just sure that life will never be the same and feels only shame that his father become the sheriff.
One day Jem, Ellie, and Nathan head out Cripple Creek to pan for gold. Upon their arrival they discover that the creek is almost dried up and Gem's friend "Strike" and his mule have gone missing. The next thing you know they are headed up the mountain to find Strike and to investigate the creek. Thus they begin a dangerous adventure where Jem discovers that his dad's badge isn't something to be ashamed about after all, but rather a badge of honor.
Badge of Honor was a big hit with Chantry. Many nights we had to read just one more chapter. In his words, "It wasn't a dull story. It was a fun adventure. I liked the Western setting. I liked that the main character was a boy. It also had funny parts." He said he would give it 5 stars!
I felt Badge of Honor was great read for my 11 year old boy. We haven't read many books set during the Gold Rush so that opened up a new world to learn about. It had plenty of adventure, some great life lessons, and some plain fun included in it. Chantry can't wait to read Book 2 - Tunnel of Gold, which means I better get on the ball and add it to our book collection! Overall, Badge of Honor was a big, big hit and one that is highly recommend!
Badge of Honor and its sequel, Tunnel of Gold are available for $7.99 (plus S&H) a piece or you can purchase both for $13.95 (plus S&H). Also, check out the free enrichment guides and sample chapters that are available for Badge of Honor (sample, guide) and Tunnel of Gold (sample, guide).