Submitted by Ms. Allana!
In 1853, the California gold rush was in full swing, and everyday items were in short supply. Levi Strauss, a 24-year-old German immigrant, left New York for San Francisco with a small supply of dry goods and the intention of opening a branch of his brother's New York dry goods business. Shortly after his arrival, a prospector wanted to know what Mr. Strauss was selling. When Strauss told him he had rough canvas to use for tents and wagon covers, the prospector said, "You should have brought pants!" saying he couldn’t find a pair of pants strong enough to last. Levi Strauss Gets a Bright Idea by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Stacy Innerst, is a “fairly–fabricated story” about the invention of denim jeans, or blue jeans, as they are usually called. A witty and captivating story from the start, this is a very tongue in cheek book. “GOLD!” somebody yells, which sets the time period and place for this fascinating children’s book. As the prospectors struggle to keep their pants together, they are reduced to wearing barrels as clothing. The illustrator provides excellent drawings to convey the dilemma, frustration, and discomfort of the men. The story is woven in a way that is entertaining to young children, but has elements of real history too. I would recommend this book to lower elementary grade readers. See this book listed in our catalog