Goldtown Beginnings: Fun Family Read Alouds

The cool kids have enjoyed reading the newest books from author Susan K. Marlow, published by Kregel Publications. We were given the opportunity to review the first two books in the Goldtown Beginnings Series. Jem Strikes Gold and Jem’s Frog Fiasco is an introduction to the Goldtown Adventures Series, Jem Coulter and his community. Each paperback book is approximately 80 pages and I read them aloud to our family. I was able to read one book a day, aloud during our school art, lunch, and after dinner time.

Book Summaries

Jem Strikes Gold begins when Jem Coulter is seven years old. The Coulter family includes Pa, a gold miner, Mama, a homemaker and pie baker, Jem and his little sister Ellie. Jem’s parents are working hard to ensure all their needs are met and the children do what they can to help. Usually, a local bully named Will goes out of his way to pick, poke, and prod Jem during his errand runs. Jem knows something must be done and he’d love to fight back. Does he have the might and strength to win alone or will he need support from his new four-legged friend?

Jem’s Frog Fiasco continues with Jem enjoying the responsibilities of caring for his dog, Gold Nugget. The pair tries their hand at landing a job panning buy never happen upon any gold. They finally get the opportunity to earn from Mr. Sims, the local café owner. The two must catch bullfrogs for the menu. While out hunting, Ellie runs off and is nowhere to be found by the search parties. Rather than celebrating his successful frog hunt, Jem is faced with guilt and worry until his sister is found.

Our Thoughts & Recommendations

We enjoyed the relatable storylines, illustrations, and positive messages in both books. A hard-working family that happens upon financial trouble from time to time is something that every one of my friends can understand. I also note that often siblings do bicker, bullies are real, and little ones occasionally give quite the scare by hiding. These real-life, family-friendly stories make the books enjoyable to adults and children alike. I liked reading these books to my children and found that they appreciated the life lessons presented in such a colorful and imaginative way. The illustrations were able to keep the attention of Princess (4) and Bam Bam (5) while the plot piqued the interest of Bear (11). We also liked that each book had several mentions of God, the importance of a relationship with him, and using prayer to help you get through the day. We definitely recommend these books for children ages 5 to 8 years old.

Freebies and More

Not only are the stories enjoyable, but there are also many additional learning resources available absolutely free! By visiting the website you are able to download an Enrichment Guide that includes a reading schedule, comprehension questions, vocabulary words, math, and other activities. You can also order the printed book version and a corresponding lapbook. Coloring sheets for each of the books are also available to download.

Other Books by Susan K. Marlow

Our family has also enjoyed other books from the various series written by Susan K. Marlow. We were initially introduced to her talent via our review of the Circle C Stepping Stones books. This is a similar series that introduces Andi and her adventures on a ranch. I also purchased the entire Goldtown Adventures Series and the Enrichment Guide for Bear. He enjoyed both but preferred Jem’s adventures since it was created for boys his age. Every book encourages the reader to trust God, pray, and make good decisions. We suggest her stories often to other homeschooling families and our friends.

**Click here** to read our review on Circle C Stepping Stones books

Visit for free language arts educational units to accompany the entire series, including lap books, activity guides, and more.

Click the photo below to read how Homeschool Review Crew members enjoyed these books in their homeschool.

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Happy homeschooling,

Ta’Neisha Kemp

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Published by Ta'Neisha K.

Wife to a great husband. Mother to great children. My family is my ministry.

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