To save their family, Bo-Bo, a golden mutt, and her human brother Sheng must find a legendary treasure during the California Gold Rush in this second book of the At the Heels of History series, inspired by important events and told through the eyes, ears, and noses of dogs.
California, 1852. Sage, a golden, big-hearted mutt, is abandoned by her pack. She is about to give up hope when a silly bird squawks her out of her sadness and leads her to Sheng, a young gold prospector. Sheng renames her Bo-Bo, the Chinese word for treasure, and they soon become inseparable.
When Bo-Bo frees a caged bear, the bear’s owner—who is also a cruel tax collector—demands a huge price from Sheng for losing the bear. But where can Bo-Bo and Sheng find that much gold? Their only chance is a fabled cave rumored to be filled with treasure. But the cave is supposedly located across the foothills, on a path loaded with danger. Will Bo-Bo and Sheng find it in time?
Chapter 1: The Pack 1 The Pack
1852, Sierra Nevada foothills, California Sage stood alone under the big oak tree. She looked at her pack one more time.
Maybe they would call her back. Maybe they were just making sure she had learned her lesson. Maybe they didn’t really mean she had been thrown out of the pack.
“I’m sorry,” she woofed again.
Her tail usually curled proudly over her back. Now it drooped. Her scruffy ears fell flat against her head.
Acorn, her best friend, looked at the ground. He had the same short fur as Sage, but a darker golden brown. Racer, a tall terrier, turned away. Cougar, Juniper, and the rest of the dogs watched her across the stretch of grass and manzanita bushes.
Thunder, the pack leader, lifted her lip.
“Get out of here and don’t come back!” the big hound growled. Snarling, she held up her left front paw. Her leg had been hurt that morning. Because of Sage.
“You’re weak,” Thunder barked. “Soft. We have no place for a dog who puts some scraggly two-legged creature ahead of her own pack.”
That morning, they had raided a miner’s camp for food. Sage had found a large wooden box that smelled like meat. She’d unlatched it with her nose and lifted up the lid with her front paws. She’d pulled out a packet of dried venison. A very old, very thin man rushed over to her. He looked so panicked to see his food being taken away, Sage couldn’t do it. She’d dropped the venison.
Thunder had run up to her at just that moment.
“Get that meat!” she’d barked.
Sage had hesitated. That gave the man time to grab his rifle. He fired. The two dogs ran as fast as they could. But the shot grazed Thunder’s leg. She was going to be limping for a long time.
Acorn spoke up. “Sage just thought it wasn’t right to—”
“Quiet!” Thunder snapped. “Or you can leave too.”
Cougar and Juniper growled. Acorn lowered his ears.
Maybe Thunder was right. Maybe Sage shouldn’t have cared that the man was hungry. She started to explain one more time.
“I’ll be tough on other creatures from now on,” she woofed.
She might as well have been talking to a boulder.
“Stay out of our territory,” Thunder warned. “If you ever come near Scrub Hill again, you’ll be sorry.”
Thunder barked twice. The pack trotted away. None of them looked back. Not even Acorn.
Sage picked her way down the grassy hill. When she got to the riverbank, she passed the old tree stump with the twigs sticking out of it. The twigs looked like long ears and a short tail. Jackrabbit Stump. It marked the end of her pack’s territory and all she had ever known.
She walked on. There was nothing else she could do.
Pam Berkman has written books for grown-ups and At the Heels of History is her first series for kids. She loves writing about events in history and thinking about how they connect to things that are happening today. She also works as an editor. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and twin sons.
Dorothy Hearst is the author of the Wolf Chronicles trilogy. She loves writing about canine characters, birds, and other creatures who can give us the chance to see ourselves in new ways. She is an acquiring editor, a martial artist, a self-defense instructor-in-training, an avid hiker and reader, and a dog lover. She is not entirely domesticated, but is very food motivated.
Claire Powell is a bestselling children’s book illustrator working in London. She started out designing for big-hitting television brands before an impromptu visit to a children’s book exhibition led her down the path of illustration. Self-taught, Claire got her first book deal in 2016 and has never looked back.
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (April 28, 2020)
Length: 192 pages
Grades: 1 - 4
Ages: 6 - 9
Lexile ® 480L
The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®