Arlene (13) and I were pleased to be able to review the book Badge of Honor from Susan Marlow and Kregel Publications. Badge of Honor is the first book in the Goldtown Adventures Series. It retails for $7.99, or you can purchase it with its sequel Tunnel Of Gold for only $13.95.Shipping is $2.50 for a single book, or $3.00 for the combo-pack. You can even get them personalized. :)
Arlene took off with the book the day it arrived. I didn't see her again until almost suppertime. Being at the top end of the suggested 9-13 year old age range, she got through it fairly quickly. I didn't count how many hours it took her, but she was done sometime on the second day. That was great, as it gave me a chance to read the 140 page book as well.
Badge of Honor is the story of twelve-year-old Jem (Jeremiah) Coulter, his family, and the fictional 'Goldtown, California.' Susan Marlow does a wonderful job of blending in historical facts about California's Gold Rush days (the story is set in 1864, almost after the rush was over) with every-day life. Jem learns hard lessons about dangers, and choosing wisely, throughout the book. One of my favorite aspects is Jem's knowledge that he is responsible for his younger sister Ellie (Ellianna) age 10, since their mother died and their Father is always working the family ranch.
Jem struggles with his Father accepting the new position of Sheriff in Goldtown. And, like most 12 year old boys, he struggles with the consequences of his actions when he fails to obey his Father's commands.
The story treads lightly around some unsavory parts of the Gold Rush days, while staying mostly focused on the characters Jem *should* be spending his time with. Trouble comes when Jem disobeys. As a parent, I find that refreshing. Our children need to be reminded there are consequences, both good and bad, to their actions.
I don't want to spoil the storyline, but I will let you know, Jem realizes there is more to his Father's actions than he understands at first. Kind of like real life. Sometimes we parents do what is best for our kids without explaining to them why we are doing it.
I would recommend the book for ages 8-14. I enjoyed it myself, but I always enjoy a good western. You may be wondering what Arlene thought?! "It's a good book Mom, when can you get the next one?!"
Our Crew review was split between those who reviewed Badge of Honor and those who reviewed the sequel Tunnel of Gold. Click the link below to read all the reviews!