Cover image for Gold fever! : tales from the California gold rush
Gold fever! : tales from the California gold rush
Schanzer, Rosalyn.
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : National Geographic Society, 1999.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations, color maps ; 28 cm
Uses lighthearted illustrations and excerpts from letters, journals, and newspaper articles to relate the story of the California Gold Rush of 1848.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.8 1.0 58180.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F865 .G64 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



EUREKA!Gold fever swept the nation and the world in 1848 when carpenter James Marshall discovered a gold nugget in the American River near John Sutter's mill. As word spread of gold in California, the news set off a global race known as the California gold rush. Fortune seekers and adventurers poured into California by land and sea.HO! FOR CALIFORNIAHere is the story of these lively prospectors in their own words. Rosalyn Schanzer gathered her favorite quotes and anecdotes from letters, journals, and newspaper accounts, then put the spirit of the age into her vibrant art.GOLD! GOLD!Step into an exciting chapter of American history. Learn about the people who dropped everything to seek their fortunes. See who found gold and how, and if there was enough to go around. Find out what the gold diggers did with their brand-new wealth. Listen to the tales of the prospectors, the men and the women, the good and the bad, the winners and the losers. Join in the gold fever!

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-5. The author of How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis and Clark (1997) employs the same format in this new offering. Schanzer uses quotations from diaries and writings of participants to recount the story of the California gold rush, beginning with James Marshall's discovery of gold nuggets at John Sutter's mill in 1847. The accounts describe treacherous land and sea journeys to the gold fields, life in the mining camps and boomtowns, and the reasons for the end of prospecting. Colorful, lighthearted paintings (acrylic on rough canvas) add many details to the book and enhance the overall appeal; an appended note fills in a few facts missing from the text. Although Schanzer provides no list of references, browsers and history classes emphasizing primary sources will welcome this. --Kay Weisman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Plying the same visually jam-packed format she used to great advantage in How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis and Clark, Schanzer here turns from the lucid narrative provided by Lewis's diary to a more atmospheric account of the California Gold Rush. She begins with the January 1848 discovery of gold at Sutter's mill and--in comic book-style panels accompanied by snippets from actual diaries, letters and newspaper accounts--follows the topsy-turvy routes by land and sea to the hustle and bustle of the West Coast boomtowns. Employing such first-hand quotes as "I hate to desert. I am almost crazy, as I have the gold fever shocking bad" from a California soldier's letter to his brother in Boston, Schanzer vivifies the past and weaves her information together thematically (old-fashioned handbill style typeface announces such subjects as "Off to the Diggings" and "Night Life"). This overview, with its brief, digestible chunks, will likely tempt the appetites of budding historians, and the visual structure keeps the pace brisk. An author's note at the end puts into context the engaging historical anecdotes. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-As she did in How We Crossed the West (National Geographic, 1998), Schanzer inventively combines first-person accounts with lively artwork to bring history to life. Her amusing folk-art illustrations, drawn with acrylic paints on rough canvas, match the spirit of the times, showing a variety of emotions through simple and appealing figures. She depicts the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, details the various routes travelers used to get to California, and describes the triumphs and disappointments of the prospectors. Paintings full of color and motion show the rocky roads of the overland trails, the excitement of the digging sites, and the liveliness of San Francisco. All of the accompanying text comes directly from historical sources, including letters, newspapers, and journals, and is presented in blocks of text and dialogue balloons. By deftly arranging the dozens of quotes and carefully laying out the illustrations, the author presents a smooth and easy-to-follow narrative. Some of the tidbits are humorous while others are more serious. Many, such as the description of blankets "well filled with athletic and courageous and determined fleas," are both interesting and illuminating, conveying the day-to-day concerns of the people involved. Other books can fill in the facts and figures related to the gold rush, but Gold Fever! makes a uniquely exciting introduction to a fascinating period.-Steven Engelfried, West Linn Public Library, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.