The Books

Levi Strauss Gets a Bright Idea: A Fairly Fabricated Story of a Pair of Pants

by Tony Johnston

Hardcover, 32 pages

Published by HMH Books for Young Readers (2011-09-13)

List Price: $16.99

Actual Price: $14.29

See Used and New offers (From $4.23)

Amazon Description

Wild West chaos and creative problem solving are the force behind a well-loved American institution.

What’s a California miner to do when gold dust sifts right out of his holey pockets? With such a raggedy wardrobe, he may as well be mining in the vanilla (that is, his birthday suit)! Good thing Levi Strauss is out west, ready with his needle and a head full of bright ideas. With some quick thinking, quicker stitching, and handy arithmetic, Levi keeps all the gold rushers clothed—and becomes a modern American hero. A Wild West tall tale, Levi Strauss Gets a Bright Idea celebrates creativity, innovation, and the ubiquitous item that fills the closets of grateful jeans wearers worldwide.

One Potato Review

Raise your hand if you knew the first responders to California’s Nineteenth Century gold rush used to go panning in the nude. That this was owing to their pants abruptly disintegrating - corduroy, wool, tweed, flannel, burlap, velvet, worsted serge - may strike you as a historical mercy if you’ve ever worn worsted serge, but the indignities did not end there, as men began dressing in barrels which “got pretty hot when the sun sizzled, pretty cold when it snowed.” “Dang!” said Levi Strauss, rushing so slowly west from New York City that all the gold had run out. “There’s a need for something here. I wonder what?” Sticklers may take issue with some of this scholarship - San Francisco was possibly not constructed by Strauss with a hammer and those leftover barrels - but the right age reader for this book will have plenty of time left to reconsider the historical record, and only so many chances to embrace it. 

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