Older Kids’ Lit 1966 (8)

By: Joshua Glenn
January 17, 2016

One in a series of 10 posts surfacing Josh Glenn’s favorite 1966 adventures for intermediate readers. Happy 50th anniversary!

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odell kings fifth

Scott O’Dell’s historical, treasure-seeking adventure The King’s Fifth.

Think of The Treasure of Sierra Madre, but set in 1540 and written for older kids. During Vasquez de Coronado’s expedition from Mexico through parts of the present-day southwestern United States, a rogue conquistador strikes out on his own in search of the mythical Seven Cities of Gold. He is accompanied by the story’s narrator, Esteban, a teenage Spanish cartographer who becomes one of the first Europeans to catch sight of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. The conquistadors’ lust for gold drives their cruel treatment of the native Indians, and their mutual mistrust. We learn that Esteban is later imprisoned for having found a treasure without submitting the “King’s Fifth,” a tax levied by the King of Spain on precious metals. What has happened to the mule-train of gold?

Fun fact: Written by the author of the much-admired YA adventure Island of the Blue Dolphins (1960). In 1982, The King’s Fifth was adapted into the Japanese-French anime TV series The Mysterious Cities of Gold. Oh, and the few good ideas from the Disney movie The Road to El Dorado (2000) appear to have been lifted from O’Dell’s book, too.

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OLDER KIDS’ LIT on HILOBROW: Best of 1963 | Best of 1964 | Best of 1965 | Best of 1966 | Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Lost Prince (serialized) | YA Sci-Fi | ALSO SEE: Best 1966 Adventures (for Grownups).

JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.

Categories

Lit Lists, Read-outs

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