Tunnel of Gold proved to be a book we do not have to worry about being on our shelf! This is definitely a Christian book, not just a book with a "moral". Scripture and Christian principles are woven throughout, while still maintaining an exciting story. (In fact, I've recommended this book/author to a church librarian who was in need of good children's books.)
Tunnel of Gold, by Susan K. Marlow, is from the "Goldtown Adventures" series and is book #2. (It stood on its own without having to read book #1.) Book #1 is Badge of Honor. Book #3, Canyon of Danger will be making an appearance in November of 2013. Susan K. Marlow has written other series as well: Circle C Adventures and Circle C Beginnings.
Tunnel of Gold is about a 12-year-old boy, Jem Coulter, and his adventures in a gold mining town in California. The year is 1864. He finds himself in a tough situation with no easy answers. Will he learn to trust God and do the right thing? (The book has 18 short chapters and is 144 pages long.)
My 12-year-old son read Tunnel of Gold as part of his summer reading. I had a fun time interviewing him about his reading of the book:
An Interview with my son:
1. What did you think about the book? The introduction was not as exciting as some other books. But, after 3-4 pages it got much better. I was not too enthusiastic about reading the book in the beginning, but it got good after that.
2. What was your favorite part? I liked the fighting parts. The ending was pretty cool, I liked that.
3. Who was your favorite character? Either Jim or Chad.
4. Who do you think would enjoy this book? A boy about 10 years old who likes cowboys.
5. Was it easy to read? Definitely.
6. Tell me about the pictures in the book. There were just a few. The pictures were not very big. I wish they had been more detailed.
7. Did you learn anything about history by reading this book? Most of the history part I already knew, but I learned a lot about mining for gold. I learned that there are 3 ways to get gold: panning for gold, mining for gold and crawling through "coyote holes" to get to the gold.
8. Talk about the Christian aspects of this book. This was a Christian book, but not "in your face" Christian. It had a lot of Bible verses and stuff like that. I thought that was good.
9. What were the Christian principles emphasized in the book? To obey your parents, God is always with you and forgiveness.
A few notes from "Mom":
I really like that there is a "Historical Note" at the end of the book. I love to wrap up a historical fiction with this information. Not all historical fiction books include this, so I appreciate the added effort on the part of the author.
I think if the cover of the book had been a little more realistic and showed some of the action/adventure from the story, my son woud have been more inclined to want to read it. As it turned out, he enjoyed the book anyway--but a better cover could have helped to make it more enticing.
Cost of Product: $7.99 for one book, or $13.95 for books #1 and #2.
Also Available: A very impressive Enrichment/Study Guide (free download)that would make a great unit study!
Age Range: The Goldtown Adventures book series is recommended for ages 9-13.