I’m decades past my school years, but I must confess that I still love reading Sid Fleischman books. Djingo Django, The Ghost in the Noonday Sun, By the Great Horn Spoon. He’s a wonderful writer and he possesses a rare, distinctive voice that puts me in mind of Robert Taylor. Actually, I’d peg Fleischman as Taylor’s younger brother. Even though he writes for children, his books are immensely enjoyable for anyone who hasn’t gone too far down the road of nihilism (whether personal or taste in literature).
The scenery of Horn Spoon, whether it be ship life or the California gold fields, plays a marvelous second fiddle to the characters Fleischman lovingly constructs, winds up, and lets fly. The butler Praiseworthy is a favorite of mine. I wish I had his patience, his hope, and (of course) his boxing skills. The adventures he and Jack have on their way to gold, fortune, and saving the family are delightful and easily stand up to repeated reads.
Warning: you must be somewhat a child at heart to properly enjoy this story.