Book Review: Klondike Cat

Reading Level

Ages 4-8

Other Books on This Subject

• Gold Rush Fever

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This book, primarily for young readers, does an excellent job of teaching about the Klondike Gold Rush while telling the story of a boy and his cat.

As young Noah and his Pa prepare to try to stake a claim for gold in the Klondike, the boy can't bear to leave his beloved cat, Shadow, behind. The cat is soon a stowaway and is soon discovered--and allowed to stay.

Noah and the cat have further adventures, such as roaming for food and Shadow's having kittens (which turn out to be a boon for the family), and all ends happily, as most of these books do.

Still, the author, Julie Lawson, has a breezy enough style of writing to engage the reader and have details of the history of the period wash over him or her almost without realizing it. Yes, you the reader care about what happens to Shadow as he hides in the pack of the boy who is walking up the Chilkoot Pass. Yes, you the reader care about what is happening to Shadow and her kittens as Noah and Pa sail their way across Bennett Lake to Dawson City. And since you're along the ride, focusing on the boy and his cat, the author gives you enough details about the rest of the scene so you can really see what it was like for gold rushers back then.

The illustrations, by Paul Mombourquette, are fitting and appropriate, engaging and lively. They are numerous but not too much so, and they give you the feeling that you're right there with Noah and Shadow and Pa.

Overall, I really like this book because it is that rare historical fiction that teaches without even trying to do so.


Graphics courtesy of Kids Can Press

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David White