The Golden Mountain by Willi Baum

My oldest daughter and I have been reading the advanced copies of middle grade books that I receive from Netgalley. I wanted to be able to include my twins, who are a little too young for middle grade books. So, my twins and I have been reading books from the Best Book Club Ever. You might remember these books from the late 1970s and early 1980s. They have been picking one book each night, and I have been enjoying rediscovering some childhood favorites.

The Golden Mountain was written by Willi Baum. It was first published in 1978, and it was translated from the German- Fred und Tom und der Goldene Berg.

Jack and Pete are a pair of brothers who live together on a farm. They are looking for an adventure, so they sell everything except for their dog and hop on a train heading west. They use their money to purchase gold digging supplies, but some mean cowboys chase them. This is certainly more adventure than they were expecting- will they ever find the Golden Mountain or is it just a myth?

The illustrations are bright and colorful with vivid yellows and red everywhere. It is quite a change from the green rolling hills of the East where Jack and Pete come from. There are lots of little details throughout the book, including a gun in every holster. It doesn’t bother us, but that probably wouldn’t be something that we would see in a book published nowadays!

I mentioned in my review of The Mystery at Number Seven, Rue Petite that it is unusual to find children’s books that don’t have children or animals as the protagonists. This is another story with only adult characters; cowboys are not as popular as they once were, but my daughters sat riveted to this tale of the Wild West.

I would absolutely recommend The Golden Mountain. It has been out of print for years, but used copies seem to be readily available on Amazon. This is one of the books that I remember 30 years after first encountering it. There is a sequel to The Golden Mountain that we are going to have to look for- my girls are going to be very excited to read more about Jack and Pete!

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