by Eleanor Coerr
Reading Level 2.8
|Setting:||The town of Gold Ditch during the Gold Rush years between 1850 and 1864|
|Characters:||Chang, Grandpa Li, and Big Pete|
|Plot:||Chang wants a pony in the worst way—it's all he ever thinks about. But he and his Grandpa are poor and must work very hard. Several times, Chang comes close to solving his problem, but with no luck. Just when he is about to give up, Big Pete comes up with a solution.|
|Solution:||Chang promises to clean Big Pete's cabin if he will take him to the gold fields so he can find gold and buy a pony. His plan does not pan out, but Chang keeps his promise and cleans Big Pete's cabin. When he does, he discovers gold flakes that have fallen into the cracks of the floor and gives them to Pete. Pete then shares the gold and buys a pony for Chang.|
|Summary:||Chang has to help his Grandpa Li in the kitchen of the Gold Ditch Hotel to feed all the miners who have come to strike it rich. All Chang really wants is a horse, but all he has is a picture on the wall of a white pony. Chang is lonesome because there is no one his age to play with. He thinks about how to get a pony all the time, even during his English lessons. The teacher is not nice to him, and the miners tease him about his ponytail and Chinese customs. Big Pete is the only miner who is friendly to him, and Pete eventually helps Chang get his pony.|
|Curriculum Connections:||Immigration unit, westward expansion unit, study of the gold rush|
Show the book and title to the students. Explain that Chang is from China. Ask the students on which continent China is located. Ask them what they know about China.
Have the students predict what they think a paper pony is. Read the five titles of the chapters and let the children try to connect the information they gather from the titles.
Ask the students these questions: Does Chang look like he is in China in the picture on the cover? Where do you think he is?
Ask students to do the following exercise: Picture something you want very, very much. How does mat feel? How will you feel if you cannot have it? How will you feel if you work hard to earn it?
Ask the students where they would look in the library if they wanted to learn more about China. See whemer the students can search on the computer and find the books about China on the shelves.