I received a copy of the paperback book Badge of Honor by Susan K. Marlow as part of the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew. Book one in the Goldtown Adventures, Badge of Honor was published by Kregel Publications in 2012. With 143 pages, this book is geared for ages 9-13. In my home, it was read by my daughters Eden, age 8, Liberty, age 10, and I read it as well.
I asked Eden to read it first. As the fastest (and most dedicated!) reader in my home, I knew she’d finish in time for Liberty and I to get a turn with it. When I asked her what she thought of the book, her response was, “I liked it so much, I read it twice.” Um… yeah. She has the story all but memorized. When she saw me reading it, she knew right where I was in the story because of the drawing on the page. With simple black and white illustrations – I counted seven in all – obviously drew the attention of my ultra-visual daughter and added much to the story for her.
Liberty read Badge of Honor next and says she thoroughly enjoyed it. While she only read it once, she did request we get a copy of Tunnel of Gold, the next book in the series. The characters drew her in and the story line was nothing like other things she’s read. It opened her horizons a bit, I think. She had quite a few questions about different things mentioned in the story regarding mining and the practices mentioned.
I just finished the book. It was an easy read that took about 3 hours, and the story line was enough to keep me wanting to read… not just reading for y’all and the sake of the review. It was written for 9-13 year olds, but when we get the next book in the series, I’ll be reading that one as well – just because. “Wholesome” is a word used on the Susan K. Marlow website, and I have to agree. Wholesome fits this book perfectly.
While I think aspects of the story and it’s mining theme had to have gone over my girls’ heads, they didn’t seem to notice. They’ve never seen a mine or the tools used, so there’s no way they could have possibly understood the terms. It didn’t slow them down though, and the story moved fast and was pretty exciting. It’s about a 12 year old boy named Jem, short for Jeremiah, his sister, his cousin, aunt, friends, and his newly-named sheriff father. Jem is completely human, makes typical mistakes, has lots of 1960’s-time period mining-town mishaps and learns to trust God in spite of his fears. Nothing about it was boring, no part was “slow” and I didn’t find myself skimming even once. As a chronic skimmer of all fiction, that was impressive, at least to me!
We’ll definitely be on the lookout for more fiction by Ms. Marlow. She is a veteran homeschooler and author of this and several other series. I think she did a fantastic job writing this children’s book. As a mom always on the lookout for good books to keep my readers supplied with good books, this one definitely fits the bill. There wasn’t anything in it objectionable to me, my conscience, or my values, and the girls were highly entertained and even learned a little bit about history and life during the California gold rush.
Badge of Honor is available here for $7.99 plus $2.50 shipping and handling. It can also be purchased there as a set with the second book in the series, Tunnel of Gold, for $13.95 plus $3 shipping and handling. Sample chapters can be read at that link and the option to have the book personalized is also offered there.
For other blogger’s opinions on Badge of Honor as well as the second book in the series, Tunnel of Gold, check out the Review Crew Blog.