Embracing a Healthy Family: Goldtown Beginnings Jem's Adventures by Kregel Publications Homeschool Review

Goldtown Beginnings Jem's Adventures by Kregel Publications Homeschool Review

Finding good books for kids is fun for me as my whole family enjoys reading. We had an opportunity to read two books from the Goldtown Beginnings Series by Kregel Publications review. The books, Jem Strikes Gold and Jem's Frog Fiasco, were full of fun and adventure.


Set in 1859, the series by Susan K. Marlow, tells the imaginative tale of the series hero, Jem, and his adventures set in Goldtown, California. It's the height of the gold rush and 7 year old Jem and his family pan gold. Jem and his dog brings readers ages 6-9 an adventure to not forget.


The 78 pages paperback is short and packed with words which is perfect for the young reader. The black and white illustrations are just right for the storyline offering no distractions. It's really a good book for the next stage reader. It is a cute story with a few main characters consisting of seven year old Jem, his younger sister Ellie, their parents, a bully named Will and a dog. The story provides the reader with a bit of history going back to the California gold rush and seeing what life was like for a child. The children back then did a lot of work and when he wasn't panning for gold, he was with his sister delivering pies and laundry. The siblings show empathy and care towards one another and face adversity against the bully child named Will. Along the way in the story, Jem meets a dog that will prove its weight in gold. The stories do note God and praying but it's not full of multiple references to Biblical versus or God. Both stories are clean and provide a lesson.

The end of the book includes two pages looking back in time and providing more history on California and gold.

Example of "New Words" to review.


This one is 80 pages and is also a paperback. It's book two in the series and Jem is now working for cafe owner, Mr. Sims, to help pay for dog food for the dog he found in the last book named Nugget. This story spans across the adventure of Jem's job responsibility of catching frogs for the menu. As Jem works, Nugget and his sister Ellie get in the way providing for a frustrating time for Jem as he learns it's not quite so easy to catch frogs. As Jem's anger elevates, Ellie becomes missing and the story line continues with finding Ellie and what happened. Of course, I don't want to give away the whole story. 

The ending two pages include a factoid about coyote holes. 


There are also some fun activities to go along with the books with a free Activity Guide. The guides include a daily schedule that coordinates with each chapter. Each book has a Guide that is 128 pages.

I first started by printing the Schedule for both books. I'm going to focus only on the Jem Strikes Gold book as my homeschool lessons. The book is broken into 24 days which can be any set of days you prefer.

For Day 1, for example, we read chapter 1, discussed the new words (11 new words) and completed activities on page 7 of the Guide.

As the days proceed, the activities increase. For Day 18, we read Chapter 9 and completed page 18, 9-12.

Overall, we enjoyed the books as part of our night time reading hour. The ability to incorporate some extra work was a bonus for me with the worksheets provided. The stories were short enough to not lose my granddaughter's attention yet exciting enough to keep her wanting more. We look forward to the next books in the series and recommend each one.


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Check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew, a division of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, thought by clicking on the (photo) link below:

Jem Strikes Gold & Jem's Frog Fiasco  {Kregel Publications Reviews}

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Anonymous said...

Very good post! We are linking to this particularly great post on our website.
Keep up the great writing.

Andi Carter said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to post such a lovely review! I'm glad you enjoyed the books and activities!
--Susan Marlow

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