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Bonanza Girl: Illustrated Historical Fiction for Teens

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Mrs. Scott decides to take her children Ann Katie and Jemmy to the Idaho territory in the 1880s. She is certain she will make a fortune in a hurry. There’s just one problem—Mrs. Scott is a schoolteacher, and teachers aren’t in demand in the gold and silver camps. But what the miners do want is good food. Before they know it, the Scotts are running their own restaurant. All Mrs. Scott decides to take her children Ann Katie and Jemmy to the Idaho territory in the 1880s. She is certain she will make a fortune in a hurry. There’s just one problem—Mrs. Scott is a schoolteacher, and teachers aren’t in demand in the gold and silver camps. But what the miners do want is good food. Before they know it, the Scotts are running their own restaurant. All they have to do now is find some food to cook, learn to deal with customers who like to fight with each other as much as they like to eat—and survive an avalanche. “Fast-paced story, exciting, engrossing, and told with a light touch… Silver fever, gunplay, an avalanche, and the machinations of an even mule driver get top billing in the story.” New York Times


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Mrs. Scott decides to take her children Ann Katie and Jemmy to the Idaho territory in the 1880s. She is certain she will make a fortune in a hurry. There’s just one problem—Mrs. Scott is a schoolteacher, and teachers aren’t in demand in the gold and silver camps. But what the miners do want is good food. Before they know it, the Scotts are running their own restaurant. All Mrs. Scott decides to take her children Ann Katie and Jemmy to the Idaho territory in the 1880s. She is certain she will make a fortune in a hurry. There’s just one problem—Mrs. Scott is a schoolteacher, and teachers aren’t in demand in the gold and silver camps. But what the miners do want is good food. Before they know it, the Scotts are running their own restaurant. All they have to do now is find some food to cook, learn to deal with customers who like to fight with each other as much as they like to eat—and survive an avalanche. “Fast-paced story, exciting, engrossing, and told with a light touch… Silver fever, gunplay, an avalanche, and the machinations of an even mule driver get top billing in the story.” New York Times

30 review for Bonanza Girl: Illustrated Historical Fiction for Teens

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    Mama is widowed, with two children and no job prospects. She decides to start a school out in the gold fields but is shortly and firmly disabused of all her city slicker notions. The story is narrated by Ann Katherine, who is a nicely written young teen. Her younger brother is the bane of her existence, naturally. The Wild West flavor is pungent and gamy and it feels very real. I wonder if Beatty wasn't a closet Betsy-Tacy fan, as the hired girl has an extraordinary hat and is Swedish, stout and Mama is widowed, with two children and no job prospects. She decides to start a school out in the gold fields but is shortly and firmly disabused of all her city slicker notions. The story is narrated by Ann Katherine, who is a nicely written young teen. Her younger brother is the bane of her existence, naturally. The Wild West flavor is pungent and gamy and it feels very real. I wonder if Beatty wasn't a closet Betsy-Tacy fan, as the hired girl has an extraordinary hat and is Swedish, stout and single. Coincidence? Maybe. A little iffy in its treatment of Native Americans, though no doubt historically accurate. Also some interesting (historically accurate) bits about the Chinese not being welcome in the gold fields of Idaho. The essential wrongness of the treatment of the Chinese is stressed quite strongly. Not so much with the treatment of the Natives, sadly.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Thea

    Awesome book. It's an enjoyable kind of book. I can't stop reading it! My teacher is interested on finding out on what happens next. Favorite character, mischievous Jemmy. Patricia Beatty, make a series of Ann Katie and her adventures! Awesome book. It's an enjoyable kind of book. I can't stop reading it! My teacher is interested on finding out on what happens next. Favorite character, mischievous Jemmy. Patricia Beatty, make a series of Ann Katie and her adventures!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Roberts

    This was an out-of-print title resurrected by Sonlight. A fun gold-rush story that reminded me of "By The Great Horn Spoon," but on the Oregon-to-Idaho trail of the 1880s, rather than California of the 49ers. On the 8th grade list, but fine for 6th grade, IMO. This was an out-of-print title resurrected by Sonlight. A fun gold-rush story that reminded me of "By The Great Horn Spoon," but on the Oregon-to-Idaho trail of the 1880s, rather than California of the 49ers. On the 8th grade list, but fine for 6th grade, IMO.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Caleb and I are supposed to start reading this book tomorrow and I've been looking forward to it for a long time. Caleb and I are supposed to start reading this book tomorrow and I've been looking forward to it for a long time.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Katt Hansen

    This is one that not only taught us something about the time period, but made us laugh as I read it out loud to the kids. Really enjoyed it!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mallory

    This was a great classic, easy read, it really gives a great description on what life was really like for the families in the gold rush.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cat *living for the One who breaths life into me*

    (SPOILERS) (if you haven't read the book then dont read the reviews) well, i LOVE historical fiction, dont get me wrong. infact historical fiction is one of my fav genres..............but this book was just............school. what can i say? it was somewhat entertiaing and definatly NOT the worst book i have ever read but i read it and then it is like, what was the point of this book? plot, plot, plot. where was it? oh, yeah. maybe ten percent of the book. and dont get my started. this book is a (SPOILERS) (if you haven't read the book then dont read the reviews) well, i LOVE historical fiction, dont get me wrong. infact historical fiction is one of my fav genres..............but this book was just............school. what can i say? it was somewhat entertiaing and definatly NOT the worst book i have ever read but i read it and then it is like, what was the point of this book? plot, plot, plot. where was it? oh, yeah. maybe ten percent of the book. and dont get my started. this book is a Mary Sue. the characters go from being almost dirt poor to decently rich to FILTHY rich. now, i wanted them to get the money, but the entire point of a heroic quest stroy line is that it keeps the reader hooked. the reader is supposed to not know what is going to happen next and how can that be if things just get better and better. . . (but hey, this book was written by am amtuer in the fifties, i believe is what it said, so i can't really judge, if this crud was hot then whatever) but how can i be hooked if things just keep getting better for the characters? simple, BORED ME TO DEATH. there was NO negative ideal. just positive. BORING. who wants to read about things in a book that ONLY go right. i wonder how this even got published. thank God i wont have to read another second on reading this, the only thing that kept me going was that it was a book i HAD to read for school. i know, i know. it looks like it was written for a third grader. not a highschooler. :( ugh, this is a sad excuse for writing. but i disgress. and DONT even get me started on the villian scene. totally prediatible and anticlimatic. NOTHING went wrong, NO characters died. everything was JUST and FAIR. meh :(

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Heise

    Classic Patricia Beatty historical fiction for girls, from her feel-good/humorous period. Families stick together and (mostly) work together, chance met acquaintances (mostly) help the family to survive. A nice light read, if somewhat dated by the light tone. There is a native american in the story, who doesn't speak English. He's about the same as anyone else to my eyes, but I'm not an expert in Native American culture. Beatty does have a subplot about hate and fear of Chinese immigrants being u Classic Patricia Beatty historical fiction for girls, from her feel-good/humorous period. Families stick together and (mostly) work together, chance met acquaintances (mostly) help the family to survive. A nice light read, if somewhat dated by the light tone. There is a native american in the story, who doesn't speak English. He's about the same as anyone else to my eyes, but I'm not an expert in Native American culture. Beatty does have a subplot about hate and fear of Chinese immigrants being used as part of a plot against the family by an enemy, so +1 there... But this is more of a respect-other-cultures than a modern take on multicultural culture. Best part: large, fat Helga Storkerson, who hires on as their hired girl (over their objections) saves the day more than once. My heroine!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sarah TheAromaofBooks

    In this story, a widow and her children move to a mining town in Idaho. Once there, Mother realizes that there aren’t any other children, so her plans to teach school are not really a viable possibility. Luckily, she had been befriended along the way by a strong young Swedish woman, who sets herself up as the family protector, and persuades Mother to set up something the town really needs: a decent restaurant. While the story is fine, it was a bit slow, and quite a bit pointless. Although they ha In this story, a widow and her children move to a mining town in Idaho. Once there, Mother realizes that there aren’t any other children, so her plans to teach school are not really a viable possibility. Luckily, she had been befriended along the way by a strong young Swedish woman, who sets herself up as the family protector, and persuades Mother to set up something the town really needs: a decent restaurant. While the story is fine, it was a bit slow, and quite a bit pointless. Although they have an enemy who keeps trying to make trouble, there really isn’t any kind of ultimate goal for the book. Everyone meanders along, searching for gold, packing mules, cooking pancakes, picking berries, and nothing really happens. The end, involving an avalanche, also seems a bit implausible. Short story, I ended up packing this book off on Paperback Swap.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    It was fun and relaxing and easy to read, but I absolutely dislike the cover! And no, that's not why I've only given it 2 stars (!), but still....I didn't like the cover, and the book wasn't great. Like most of the books I mark as "currently reading", this book was for school, and again it's not the kind of book I usually go for. Still, it was relaxing and fun and sweet, and their lifestyle does actually sound quite appealing to me: all that food they talked about make me so hungry, lol, and I d It was fun and relaxing and easy to read, but I absolutely dislike the cover! And no, that's not why I've only given it 2 stars (!), but still....I didn't like the cover, and the book wasn't great. Like most of the books I mark as "currently reading", this book was for school, and again it's not the kind of book I usually go for. Still, it was relaxing and fun and sweet, and their lifestyle does actually sound quite appealing to me: all that food they talked about make me so hungry, lol, and I do like that kind of setting (the saloons, men with guns, but I would have liked romance for Ann Katherine). But it was sweet :)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    Bonanza Girl is a story about a girl named Ann Catherine Scott who travels with her mother and brother in search for a new life. Ann Catherine's mother is a widow and is determined to start a school in the Wild West, but has little success because there is no school to teach at. Her mother then decides to open up a restaurant. The story basically covers the trials and challenges that Ann Catherine and her family face, but ends up having a happily ever after when her mother gets married. Bonanza Girl is a story about a girl named Ann Catherine Scott who travels with her mother and brother in search for a new life. Ann Catherine's mother is a widow and is determined to start a school in the Wild West, but has little success because there is no school to teach at. Her mother then decides to open up a restaurant. The story basically covers the trials and challenges that Ann Catherine and her family face, but ends up having a happily ever after when her mother gets married.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mellanie C

    This was an interesting story about a widow who moves her family to a mining town with the intention of starting a school. With no children or families to support a school, she goes into the restaurant business instead. There really wasn't much conflict in the story because every problem was easily surmounted, but it was an interesting period piece. This was an interesting story about a widow who moves her family to a mining town with the intention of starting a school. With no children or families to support a school, she goes into the restaurant business instead. There really wasn't much conflict in the story because every problem was easily surmounted, but it was an interesting period piece.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Meagan

    This is a great book! Now, it’s not something that I’d want to read over and over again, but if you’re looking for a quick read when you’re bored, this book is great. It’s very interesting and a pretty realistic depiction of times in the western expansion and a girl finding herself stuck in the middle of it. I recommend this book for school projects or, just for a fun quick read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    Definitely a page turner. I was hooked! There were times when not much was going on with the plot, but Ms. Beatty still kept me interested. Long review short, I highly enjoyed it and would recommend it to all.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    A far-fetched plot, one dimensional characters, and awkwardly inserted exposition make for a bit of a dull read. If you are interested in gold rush stories, I recommend The Ballad of Lucy Whipple by Karen Cushman. 21/60 tbr box.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Angela Squires

    An enjoyable story with a more enjoyable setting, Bonanza Girl gives a glimpse of what life was like in an 1880’s Idaho boom-town. Strong female characters lend inspiration to the idea that with wisdom and a will to work, fortune is yours for the making.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lynne Haltenhoff

    My son and I read this in 5 days for the Sonlight homeschool curriculum. We enjoyed learning about mining history of the 1880's this way. It was a lighthearted story, with some excitement scattered throughout. My son and I read this in 5 days for the Sonlight homeschool curriculum. We enjoyed learning about mining history of the 1880's this way. It was a lighthearted story, with some excitement scattered throughout.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lamisa

    Go west, young woman!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    Pretty good. I love stories about restaurants in Idaho in the 1850s.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Evan

    It was an EXTREMELY good book, and really gave the spirit of western boom towns.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carol Shrader

    Another school read for my kids...it was lovely...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laine

    ok

  23. 4 out of 5

    Monicamarlo

    A decent three hour read with some merit if you're interested in western gold and silver rush history. A decent three hour read with some merit if you're interested in western gold and silver rush history.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Quincy

    This is a great story. It depicts life in the 1800's in mining towns out west. This is about a women and her children who make a living by opening a restaurant in a mining town. This is a great story. It depicts life in the 1800's in mining towns out west. This is about a women and her children who make a living by opening a restaurant in a mining town.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Natalie VZ

    Chapter 11 is the best chapter!!!!!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kellie

    Wish I could give three and three quarters stars... Very sweet read that is slow in parts. But a good story about life during the Gold Rush.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Brandi

    One of my sophomore sunlight curriculum books, did not leave an impression.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Hillvan

    920L

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ella

    I loved this book however the ending was a little disappointing. It was good just not what I had in mind. :)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ellie Van

    Read about the lively adventures of a Bonanza girl!

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