Old Charlie, The Fire Horse

Leaving his home in China, Chi Wei, is pursuing a dream of a better life in Gum San, the Gold Mountain, or California. After working many long hours doing laundry for the townspeople, he has finally saved enough money to purchase a horse to help him with his business. He soon discovers that Old Charlie has a mind of his own and seemingly does not want to be a "retired" fire horse. Old Charlie stubbornly and defiantly continues to escape to the local firehouse at every opportunity to ring the fire bell. Poor, frustrated Chi Wei is at wits' end, thinking maybe it is best to return Old Charlie to the fire brigade.

Find out what Chi Wei decides to do and discover how an old, proud horse like Old Charlie brings opportunity, adventure, and friendship to his new owner.

Old Charlie, the Fire Horse is based on the antics of a legendary fire horse that actually lived and served the local fire brigade in the Gold Country in the 1860s. This story gives young minds a glimpse into what America looked like during the Gold Rush days in California.

This is D. L. Yamada's second book that utilizes the California Gold Rush period as a backdrop for her stories. Her first book titled Echoes from Gold Mountain is a young adult historical novel intended for intermediate grades and up. Old Charlie, the Fire Horse is a picture book meant for the primary grades. Both books were written with the intention of shedding light on the lives of the many Chinese sojourners who left their homeland in the nineteenth century and became a significant part of America's landscape and history.


--D. L. Yamada