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By the Great Horn Spoon! Paperback – Apr 30 1988


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (April 30 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316286125
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316286121
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 91 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #369,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Two tales of trickery and exaggeration by the Newbery Medalist feature adventures in the Old West and during the California Gold Rush. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7–Listeners are in for a treat with this satisfying reading of Sid Fleischman's novel (Little, 1963). Brimming with riveting adventure, the story is set during the Gold Rush. The fast-moving plot follows the high spirited young Jack and his aunt's faithful butler, Praiseworthy, as they set out to strike it rich in order to support the financially strapped and beloved Aunt Arabella. As Jack and the loyal butler travel by sea and land, the pair meet a series of memorable characters such as the daring, crusty sea Captain Swain and the diabolical Cut-Eye Higgins. The individual personalities of the characters are reflected through the expressive voices rendered by the large cast of 24 readers. Jack and Praiseworthy are the most well-rounded characters. While some of the readers use more expression than others, Willard E. Lape, Jr.'s strong narration is crisp and well-paced. Bouncy folk-style music, appropriate to the historical setting, separates each chapter. This entertaining production is a worthy purchase for libraries with large children's audio collections.–Lynn K. Vanca, Akron-Summit County Public Library, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Darlene TOP 100 REVIEWER on Feb. 21 2013
Format: Paperback
I read this book aloud to my children. It won the 1972 George C. Stone Center for Children's Books Recognition of Merit Award.

This is a fantastic adventure story that is set in 1849 during the time of the California Gold Rush. It features an orphaned 12 year-old boy named Jack Flagg, who lives with his aunt, Arabella, in Boston. In order to save the family from financial ruin and force the sale of the family’s estate, Jack sets out to strike a fortune in California. Accompanied by the family’s butler, Praiseworthy, the two set off to purchase their tickets to sail aboard a ship. Unfortunately, their money to pay for their passage is stolen and they must stow-away on the ship. They work off their passage by stoking the boiler with coal. One of the passengers has his map marking the site of gold stolen, and Jack and Praiseworthy devise an ingenious method of ferreting out the thief.

Jack and Praiseworthy encounter one obstacle after another, but they are unswerving in their dedication to complete their mission. They make a great team! I loved seeing the change in their relationship over time from butler/master to more of a father/son dynamic. Praiseworthy really surprised me with his cleverness, and my kids and I laughed on many occasions. It was also really interesting to see what life was like as a gold miner.

If you are looking for a funny adventure story to enjoy with your kids, I highly recommend this book!
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By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Oct. 26 2009
Format: Paperback
Reason for Reading: read aloud to my 9yo to go with our history studies.

Summary: Aunt Arabella is in imminent danger of losing her estate so Jack and the butler, Praiseworthy, leaving a note behind, stowaway on a ship to reach California where they plan to strike it rich with the other forty-niners. Thus coming home in time to save Aunt Arabella's estate. If only things worked out just as we planned them...

Comments: As historical fiction, the book's historical content is contained to life aboard a coal-fueled steamship, both above and below decks, the lifestyle of a gold miner and the drudgery of working on a gold claim with the likelihood of not finding any gold. Otherwise, the tale told here is far too tall to take seriously. Having read a handful of Fleishman's books, including some McBroom, I knew what to expect all along.

A delightful, over-the-top, rip-roaring adventure that both ds and I enjoyed immensely. The character of Praiseworthy is hilarious. Being the perfect 'stiff upper lip' butler he is completely out of his element in the dusty wilds but like the perfect butler he can fix any awkward situation in a jiffy. Praiseworthy slowly loses pieces of his butler's ensemble and with it his lip begins to loosen up as well. Undoubtedly, Praiseworthy is the star of this book. Oddly enough though, with the book being about the rush for gold, the first good half (maybe a bit less) of the book takes place aboard the steamship. We certainly enjoyed the exploits on board, and sailing books are a big hit around here, but we did start to wonder when the gold rush part of the book would ever start. To sum up the story simply put: good, clean fun with plenty of action and loads of laughs.
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By A Customer on Dec 4 2002
Format: Hardcover
Whaho! Bang! Bang! Sorry folks, didn't mean to scare you there. Anyway, welcome to Sacramento 1852 where the gold rush was found. We've all been waiting here to tell you about the new book Sid fleischman wrote about us, By The Great Horn Spoon. I'm sure you're just happy enough to be on land and alive. I don't really like those sea voyages myself but it's the safest way to get to California. So let's walk into town and have us some lunch shall we? Oh, by the way . Have you heard of Bullwhip and Jamoka Jack? Jack is a mere scrawny boy. He's got blonde hair and brown eyes. He got his name by drinkig coffee and plenty of it. And Bullwhip? By gods, I hear he knocked a road-agent fifteen feet up hill! He's got brown hair and a shave of a beard, but he used to be called "Praiseworthy" the butler. They say they're going to see Doc Higgins, the dentist, at Shirtail Camp. They say he's a thief. I personally think he's a nice guy, but who's talking.
This whole story is about a boy, named Jack who figures out about the gold rush and decided that he wants to go to California and search for gold to help his Aunt Arebella who is going to lose her house. Jack and his butler, Praiseworthy, gets aboard as stowaways and crosses the dreadful Cape Horn to California. But they don't know about searching for gold. And you'll have to read the rest to find out how they get rich. The reader will like this book because it has a lot of good information about the gold rush, and it has fun turns and loops. Enjoy this book about the fun and treacherous gold rush.
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By A Customer on Feb. 13 2002
Format: Paperback
When I was nine, I read this book. At age 40, I read the same copy to my children, ages ten and eight. As much as I enjoyed reading it the first time, reading it out loud was a much richer experience.
The writing flows naturally, and encourages a great variation in expression. The adventure truly comes out in the reader's voice. I am an actor, but I felt that this story would bring out the actor in anybody.
The story was so exciting and surprising that long reading sessions never dragged. At several points, my children threw themselves down on the floor and yelled, "Oh my gosh!"
This experience brought it all together for me, if I may speak personally: books, performing, involvement with my children, a classic story that I relished as a child myself. Those evenings added up to the happiest time of my life.
The plot concerns a boy who runs away during the California gold rush--with his butler!--to try to get his family out of debt. The adventures along the way are episodic, and each episode is an amazing and believable story in itself. Every step in the journey is given full attention: the voyage from Boston to San Francisco, the trip to the gold fields, the experiences among the miners. There are plenty of colorful characters, and plenty of opportunities for the two main characters to grow. There are also several threads that run through the whole story, maintaining suspense. Their resolution is unpredictable and satisfying.
There was very little in the book that could make a parent squirm, and very little that sounded out of date. But there were three moments that made me pause: 1) There is a fist fight, though it is handled in a light-hearted way. 2) There is a reference to corporal punishment when an adult threatens to "take a hairbrush" to a child.
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