Kregel Publications {My Review}

Our youngest grandson is crazy for books. He can spend an entire afternoon playing with his toys and bringing you stories to read so when we had the opportunity to review both Jem Strikes Gold and Jem’s Frog Fiasco  from Kregel Publications I jumped at it.

Great Read Alouds

These are the first two titles in the Goldtown Beginnings Series. The stories of Jem and his little sister are suitable for ages 6 – 8 and are a prequel to the Goldtown Adventures, a series suitable for 9 – 13-year-olds. I like that these books span a good-sized age-range since the whole family can share their adventures. Even though we don’t have one in the right age range Big Brother (12) was able to easily read them to Little Brother (2 1/2).

Little Monster loves having his big brother read to him

The boys have enjoyed reading these books together. The chapters are a good length (6 or 7 pages each) for a little read in the afternoon or for before bed. Of course, there were parts that Little Monster wanted to hear again and again like when Nugget snuck into the tent to wake up Jem or when Jem was splashing in the pond to catch the bullfrogs. He didn’t like it when the one frog bit Ellie though. He said it would make an owie and hurt.

Good Books for Little Hands

After drying out the book is once again readable

We did have one mishap with the books. The boys had taken the frog book with them to the beach and I think Little Monster decided to look for frogs while carrying it. Yes, you guessed it. By the time EJ realized what had happened it was floating in the water. I have to say these books are well made with decently thick paper so we were able to separate the pages while they were wet and then hang it over a hanger to dry. I am impressed that besides being a bit thick now the book is totally readable again.

Little Monster’s Thoughts

There is a puppy and frogs and a boy and a girl. Frog bit her and made owie. Funny wagon tipped over on the pies. Big boy was mean.

EJ’s Thoughts

These are good books for me to read to my little brother. Usually, he makes me read little books and I get bored with them but these books have a good story plus he can mostly understand what is going on. Instead of reading a whole little book to him I just read a chapter or two until he wants to play again.

I liked the kids in the stories as well. They sometimes would fight like me and my little brother but they knew they needed to stick together. If my brother got lost like Ellie did I know I would feel really sad and think it was my fault. I’m glad they found her in the story, it made a good ending.

Gold Panning on our visit to Sutter’s Mill

I thought these stories were interesting and they reminded me of visiting Sutter’s Mill and getting to pan for gold with my aunt and mama. It is hard work and I could totally understand when Jem only got a tiny flake of gold from his pan. I would like to read the Goldtown Adventures for my age and see what adventures the kids get into when they are older.

My Thoughts

I was very happy with these books. I found the adventures and the way the children behaved to be very realistic. I liked how they included what I would call ‘the moral to the story’. They expressed how the children should behave without preaching to them. It was the children themselves who realized where they had gone wrong. I think kids will relate to this.

I also like how there are free coloring and activity sheets to go along with the books. You can purchase a deeper curriculum that I think Little Monster will do well with once he is in first or second grade but for now he can color Jem in different scenes from the stories.

Coloring page from the books

I always like to find books that we can fit in with our homeschooling and travel and these are just terrific for this. As EJ pointed out, reading about Jem reminded him of our visit to Sutter’s Mill in California. I liked to see how these books talked about Jem’s mother worrying about how to feed an extra mouth (Nugget the dog) and how Jem seemed to understand how tough things were for his parents in Goldtown. This helps them to fit in with your history curriculum while still being enjoyable for kids to read.

A Great Fit for Our Family

I will be very honest, these books are the perfect fit for our family. Between our love of history and also having two boys who can relate to Jem, the lead character in this series. We are eagerly looking forward to the next books in the series!

Several other families reviewed Jem Strikes Gold and Jem’s Frog Fiasco  from Kregel Publications as well so I encourage you to click the image below and hear what they had to say about them.

Jem Strikes Gold & Jem's Frog Fiasco  {Kregel Publications Reviews}
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2 thoughts on “Kregel Publications {My Review}”

  1. Susan says:

    Thanks for the great review. It was really fun to read. I especially appreciate your mention of the sequel series, GT Adventures. Yes, your 12 year old is the prefect audience to read about 12 year old Jem’s further adventures in GT. 🙂

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