Kids Work Hard to Strike Gold


Have you ever wondered if kids participated in the Klondike Gold Rush? This is the story of an 11-year old boy and his 16-year old brothers’ gold rush. “Jasper and the Riddle of Riley’s Mine” by Caroline Rose tells the story. The gold fever had just hit Seattle, WA, and Melvin and Jasper save up to go get some gold. However, two years ago their mother died, and their pa became a drunk. He lost his job and used all of the sixteen year old kids’ income to buy alcohol. So, the sixteen year old (Melvin) took the boys’ Klondike savings and went off. Now, angry little Jasper (the 11 year old) tramped off with 57 cents and followed his brother for more than 20 miles over land and water.

Jasper boarded a large boat called The Queen and followed Melvin while washing people’s clothes for 9 cents. But, he had run on secretively after another family and was found out as a stowaway. He was hunted down and reported, then kept in a closet for 3 days until The Queen docked. Then, he was sent away, and he found his brother. But, the bad luck was not over – Jasper found his brother sitting with a chubby man who paid for his food. But, the man and another person were scheming together and used a very clever plan (Read the book to find out!) to rob Melvin. The streak still wasn’t over when Melvin checked for his gear and found it stolen as well, with only what he had marked it with in the empty spot.

This is a very creative story. But, this novel is so descriptive that I did not need pictures to imagine the scene. I loved this book, and on a scale of 1-10, I would rate it an 8 because even though it is a mostly dark story, there is still some humor in it. Did a fantastic job of incorporating sadness, humor, and the perfect amount of mystery. (Whether or not they would make it through) I recommend this for ages 9-15 or anyone who is interested in the time of the gold rush.