When I agreed to review Lost in Death Valley, by Connie Goldsmith (Millbrook Press), I had no idea what I was in for. Here is a book that is so riveting, so intriguing and so unimaginably compelling it is hard to believe that is not fiction! Connie Goldsmith must have had a Time Machine...
This is the little known, true story of four families from the middle 1800's who set off from Salt Lake City in the direction of California (by way of a false "short cut") in pursuit of gold, and ended up treading through the Death Valley desert. The fortune that befell them is absolutely incredible.
I began reading this book to my seventh grade daughter, and after the first chapter, neither of us could bring ourselves to put it down. Each chapter had us holding our breath as we became intimately acquainted with the players in this dramatic event. The pictures are incredible and the quotes are remarkable. This is an excellent resource to have in any home school (or history buff's!) library. If only every subject could come alive like this! I have never learned so much at one time, and this book reads like a fast paced novel.
Children 10 and over will benefit greatly from this incredible work. You truly get a full understanding of what it was like to leave everything familiar and secure in pursuit of a better life. The risks, the faith, the bond of family and friends became the strands that determined life and death. And are all woven throughout this wondrous tale in an amazingly gifted approach. It will leave you breathless (I can still taste the dust and feel the grit in my eyes!). I just can't say enough about it. Nicely done, Connie Goldsmith, I hope to see more of your work in the future!
Lost in Death Valley is available through on-and offline booksellers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders), by calling the publisher, Millbrook Press, at (203) 740-2220, or by visiting the publisher's website at www.millbrookpress.com.
........On a sidenote and heads up to Christian homeschoolers...along some of the page sidelines, there are text boxes that give additional information about the landscape, historical facts, geological facts, picture summaries, etc. In one of the info boxes titled, "Death Valley Through the Ages", it discusses Death Valleys prehistoric landscape, how it was formed and what it must have looked like. It uses the 'Old Earth' or evolutional theory. I personally did not mind this at all, as we encourage the examination of current beliefs as a springboard for discussion of what, and why, Creationist and New Earth theororists believe.