Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Kregel Publications REVIEW

I can't say it enough, Little Bug LOVES to read!  Jem Strikes Gold and Jem's Frog Fiasco from Kregel Publications looked like they would be right up her alley.  The books are short chapter books, 78-80 pages long, and recommended for ages 6-9 (6-8 on the back of the books).  They are listed as historical juvenile fiction.  The books are softcover and include illustrations throughout the stories.  The author, Susan K. Marlow does a great job in her storytelling and keeping the reader engaged and interested in the story.  There is an entire Goldtown Beginnings Series and Books 3 and 4 are scheduled to come out March 2020.

Sample book page

Free Activity Pages download
The time is set in the 1800s (1859) during the gold rush period.  I LOVE how the story integrates history, bible, manners, and respect throughout the story.  These are the kinds of stories I want my kids to be reading.  The books are an easy read and Little Bug enjoyed them very much.  I especially like the availability of extra resources to use the books as part of your language arts curriculum.  There are FREE activity and coloring pages available through the link given in the book.  Lap books, activity guides, or a special bundle are available for purchase.  We downloaded and used the FREE activity and coloring pages.  The activity pages include a wonderful schedule and answer keys.  I printed everything out and then used our binding machine to put the pages together into one book.  I read some of the books out loud and Little Bug read some out loud (she LOVES to read out loud).  She completed some of the activities from the activity pages. I think in the future we will use the activity pages more and follow a more structured schedule.

4 Day schedule from Activity Pages download

Sample Workbook Pages from FREE Activity Page download

I appreciated the format of the books.  After the Table of Contents, there is a New Words vocabulary page with definitions that includes words in the story that may be new to the reader.  The books end with "A Peek into the Past" section that discusses a little bit about the history of the time the story was set in.  The inclusion of Biblical verses and precepts is a wonderful addition.

New vocabulary words

In Jem Strikes Gold, 7-year-old Jem (Jeremiah) and his little sister Ellie (Ellianna) have to face the town bully, Will (Sterling).  Jem and his family are introduced into the story and we find out that they are gold miners.  Mama also helps out with selling pies and doing laundry.  When Will causes Jem to destroy a few pies, what happens?  Does Mama or Pa get angry?  Later, when Jem tries to deliver the clean laundry, what happens?  Just what does "Jem Strikes Gold" really mean?  Is it gold or something else?  Who, or what saves the day when Jem is once again bullied by Will.  You need to read the story to find out.  The story has wonderful lessons to be learned.  Jem learns to be patient with his little sister, Ellie, and reminds himself of the bible verse to "be kind to one another."  We read about Jem saying prayers to help him with his daily challenges.  It teaches manners and respect when Jem realizes when he is too harsh with his sister and responds to his mother with "yes ma'am."  Jem also learns that "being rich" isn't always the best and being "dirt poor" sometimes has some wonderful benefits with special friendships, service to others, and parents that are invested in what you do.

Sample coloring page

In Jem's Frog Fiasco Jem continues his gold mining and Nugget (his young dog) is growing. Again we find him being patient and kind to his little sister and praying for God to help him with his daily struggles and thanking God for the blessings.  But will his desire to get what he wants cloud his better judgment and put his sister in danger?  Jem soon realizes that he needs to get funds to help feed his dog Nugget so he sets out to get a job. He gets a job catching frogs for Mr. Sims at the café. He learns a hard lesson when he chooses catching his frogs over watching and keeping his sister safe.  What happens to Ellie?  Where does she go?  Does she ever make it back home?  Will God help Jem and what does Nugget have to do with the rescue effort?  Get the book and find out!

Free sample chapters from the books are available for download. We definitely give Jem Strikes Gold and Jem's Frog Fiasco two thumbs up.  I plan to purchase the rest of the series as they become available.  It is so hard to find educational reading books that are fun to read, teach you something, and also have a strong biblical foundation.  I can't say enough good about these books.  There will be 6 books in the series and (as stated earlier) books 3 and 4 are due to come out March 2020.  The titles are as follows:
  • Jem Strikes Gold
  • Jem's Frog Fiasco
  • Jem and the Mystery Thief
  • Jem Digs Up Trouble
  • Jem and the Golden Reward
  • Jem's Wild Winter

Kregel Publications has a vision "to maximize the impact of quality, life-changing Christian resources."  I especially like their mission statement: "Our mission as an evangelical Christian publisher is to develop and distribute—with integrity and excellence—trusted, biblically based resources that lead individuals to know and serve Jesus Christ."  You can connect with them on FACEBOOK (KREGEL BOOKS and CIRCLECADVENTURES), INSTAGRAM, and TWITTER.

Please be sure to check out what my fellow Crew members had to say about these wonderful books by clicking on the graphic link below.  Happy reading!
Jem Strikes Gold & Jem's Frog Fiasco  {Kregel Publications Reviews} 
Crew Disclaimer


  1. Well, that was so fun to listen to your little DD read! She reads with expression too. :-) I can tell she likes to read.
    And nice comb binding for the free activities. I'm hot at work creating the learning pages for books 3-4. :-)

    Anyway, thanks so much for your fun and creative review. I enjoyed it!
    Susan Marlow
    p.s. your little girl might also enjoy horse/ranch books at the same reading level as these two books. Andi Carter is 6 and grows up in 1874 . . . all the way to 1882.

    1. Thank you for your kind words! We will definitely check out the horse/ranch books. She just turned 7 and is in the 1st grade but her reading skills are expanding so quickly. I love listening to her read (she does it all the time and just loves to read out loud, even when no one else is really listening).


Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to reading what you have to share. May your day be richly blessed!

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