During the Gold Rush, dreamers of every kind flocked to California to make their fortunes. When Luke jumps at the chance to leave his prairie home and join his adventurous uncle, his own journey, filled with excitement, discovery, and danger, becomes a search for gold halfway across America.During the Gold Rush, dreamers of every kind flocked to California to make their fortunes. When Luke jumps at the chance to leave his prairie home and join his adventurous uncle, his own journey, filled with excitement, discovery, and danger, becomes a search for gold halfway across America.
About the Author
Bonnie Pryor thoroughly researched important periods of American history for each of her American Adventures. For Luke on the High Seas, she delved into seafaring in the nineteenth century so that the details of Luke Reed's journey would be accurate. She lives in Gambier, Ohio. In Her Own Words...
"I grew up in Spokane, Washington, the middle child in a family of three girls. Books were a part of my life from as far back as I can remember. I was often in trouble for reading at the wrong time. I would be caught reading under the dining room table when I was supposed to be dusting, or reading under the covers by flashlight late at night-even hiding a novel inside my textbooks at school.
"Not everyone thought I read too much. I remember a school librarian who saved all the new books for me to read first, and on several occasions she gave me presents of books. Perhaps she felt she should because I had read every single thing in her library!
"I was very shy, and, like Robert in The Plum Tree War, I spent a lot of my time hanging from my knees from a favorite plum tree, telling myself stories. Of course since I was raised in the West these stories were usually about wild horses and cowboys, and I was always the heroine who came to the rescue. The stories were long and involved, sometimes going on for days. I was always impatient to get to my tree each day so I could find out what was going to happen next, but I was too lazy to write the stories down.
"I think everyone expected me to become a writer, but it took me twenty years and a gentle nudge from my husband, Robert, to build up the courage to try. In the meantime I moved to Ohio, worked at a variety of jobs, and raised a family. I have four grown children, eight grandchildren, and two daughters still at home-Jenny and Chrissy. Many of my books are loosely based upon incidents in my children's lives, and they often appear as characters, in personality if not by name.
"My family recently moved to the country. When I'm not writing and visiting schools, we're busy building barns and fences and laying out flower beds. In addition, we all take part in caring for the four newcomers to our home: three horses and a bunny!"
Bert Dodson is the well-known illustrator of many books for young readers about the American past, most recently Grandpa Was a Cowboy, by Silky Sullivan (Orchard Books), and Buffalo Thunder, by Patricia Wittman (Marshall Cavendish).He lives in Bradford, Vermont.
Read an Excerpt
Luke reed gave the reins a gentle pull."Whoa, Jack,"The big black horse pulling the plow stood obediently while Luke slipped out of the harness and waited for his father to catch up.
"Your mother thought you'd be hungry by now,"Mr. Reed said, handling him a basket."It'll take over for a while." He looked approvingly at the thin dark lines cutting through the prarie sod.
"You've done alot."
"Jack has been acting up the last few rows," Luke said. "Don't know what's the matter with him."
Mr. Reed checked the harness to make sure it wasn't rubbing."Everything looks all right," he said, scratching behind Jack's ears."Maybe Jack would rather be in the nice shady barn," he joked, looking up at the hot Iowa sun.
Jack gave a loud snort.His eyes showed a bit of white."He does seen a little nervous," Mr Reed said thoughtfully."Maybe there's a snake nearby."
As Luke looked at his bare feet and shuddered, Mr. Reed chuckled."Snakes are more afraid of you than you are of them."
"Ha," Luke said."I don't bite."
Mr. reed adjusted the harness and slapped the reins."Gee!" Jack started foward, and Mr Reed guided the plow in a narrow straight line.Like checked the ground before he sanl down in the tall grass and opened the basket.His mother had packed fresh bread and a hunk of cheese.There was also a small jug of cool milk and a poece of apple cake wrapped up in a cloth napkin.Luke quickly gobbled down the food.He had been working hard since early morning, and his stomach was empty.
He watched his father at the plow, wishing he had some paper and charcoal.He imagined how the picture would look when he was finished -- Jack,strong and sleek, and the prarie grass stretching endlessly.Luke sighed.His father did not understand Like's desire to turn everuthing he saw into a picture.Mr. Reed though drawing was a waste of time.
American Adventures: Luke. Copyright © by Bonnie Pryor. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.