OK, I've been reading these books from my youth lately, and it's high time I gave 1950s girl-sleuth Trixie Belden her due. The original books in thisOK, I've been reading these books from my youth lately, and it's high time I gave 1950s girl-sleuth Trixie Belden her due. The original books in this series were written in the late 1940s / early 1950s, in a time when girls were Betty Crockering-it-up, yet Trixie and gal pal Honey Wheeler are about as feisty, fun, and fierce as any girl besties of recent years - maybe more so.
In the first book in the series, Trixie's knowledge of first aid and cool head in a crisis save her younger brother from a deadly snake bite. In this second series installment, Honey out-swims an entire group of boys from a Summer Camp, then saves another swimmer who goes in a bit too deep. Both girls take tumbles from horses and bicycles, but jump right back up and are back in the saddle minutes later. Crying is for sissies and for girls who are NOT Trixie Belden or Honey Wheeler. These girls camp and hike, ride and swim, paddle and persevere; Trixie kicks a bad-ass trailer-thief off of a ladder, then Honey stands up to the thieves and pretends to be streetwise to buy both girls time to escape. Bear in mind, this is rich-girl Honey who started out in Book One a "poor little rich girl" that Trixie fears will be a sissy. Forget that, by this book it's "Go, Honey, go!" No wonder I liked these girls when I was their age! Dang it all, I like them now!!
This installment was probably my favorite growing up. It has a great mystery involving a ring of thieves who steal luxury trailers (still a novelty at the time this was written), strip them of their appliances, then abandon the trailers and sell the like-new appliances for big bucks. Trixie and Honey claim to be terrible at reading maps, and they do get lost on bridle trails more than once. Yet, using their wits - 'cause these girls are no dummies - maps, trail markers, and a little bit of chance, they find not one but two hide-outs and solve the mystery.
Along the way, they also find missing-heir Jim from The Secret of the Mansion and help solve a second mystery reuniting another young runaway with her migrant worker family. All sorts of fun stuff from an era that feels both bygone and classically timeless with its like-ably smart heroines. (Side note: I vividly recall the food, especially the canned food "camping" concoctions they cook in the trailer and Mrs. Smith's spiced grape juice and layer cake, from reading this in my youth. I found their meals both oddly different from anything I ever ate and kind of fascinating. What kid doesn't like to read about food?) Enjoy! ...more
This was my favorite Beverly Cleary when I was a child. To be fair, though, I loved all Cleary's books. I related to Ellen more than I did to Beezus aThis was my favorite Beverly Cleary when I was a child. To be fair, though, I loved all Cleary's books. I related to Ellen more than I did to Beezus and Ramona perhaps. ...more
This was a fondly remembered childhood favorite. While it doesn't really stand the test of time for me as an adult reader, I was surprised at how manyThis was a fondly remembered childhood favorite. While it doesn't really stand the test of time for me as an adult reader, I was surprised at how many passages I remembered vividly and was delighted to remember the ways those passages had struck a chord with my 10-year-old self. I guess there is a teeny bit of the romantic in me. This book has the elements of a childhood classic: parents absent (naturally); adventures found at the end of a trail you've passed a dozen times; mysterious castle in a clearing just the other side of that hedge; battles with goblins; a friendly, vegetarian dragon; and one or two princesses and princes who fall in love at first sight. Recommended for young readers who like princesses and fairies and/or girls ready to move on from Rainbow Fairies.
On a side note, this edition retains the original illustrations my childhood copy had. I remember them vividly, as well as the many stories I invented around these pictures. What a great jumping-off place they were for the imagination. ...more
Four children find a magic ring and must work out its magical properties before they wreak havoc on the countryside.
Prolific children's writer E. NesFour children find a magic ring and must work out its magical properties before they wreak havoc on the countryside.
Prolific children's writer E. Nesbit inspired generations of children and children's authors, and this is Nesbit at her absolute finest. Adults are conveniently preoccupied with adult things, and children have adventures and enchantments enough to satisfy the most avid of magic-lovers. Highly recommended for kids and grown-ups alike. Written in 1907, so expect Edwardian atmosphere and language, but the children (2 boys, 2 girls) are as lively and modern as any child alive today. ...more