Book Review: The Great Brain Reforms

The Great Brain Reforms by John D. Fitzgerald
The Great Brain Reforms (Great Brain, #5) 
by John D. FitzgeraldMercer Mayer

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Tom, known as The Great Brain, is up to his old tricks again, fooling the neighborhood kids into sucker bets, tricking his brother into doing all the chores, blackmailing his adopted brother out of his allowance money, and generally making trouble for the town.

But when a few kids nearly lose their lives in one of his pranks, will the shame and fear of death be enough to get the Great Brain to reform his ways?

I enjoyed this funny story about the mischievous schemes of Tom and how he drags his brothers along for the ride. He definitely reminds me of Tom Sawyer, only he’s WORSE!
The wholesome atmosphere of the old town and the simple quiet people who live there, are stirred up by the wild and crazy scenarios that Tom cooks up. There is never a dull moment! Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Wind in the Willows Jigsaw Puzzles

Wind in the Willows Jigsaw Book by Kenneth Grahame
Wind in the Willows Jigsaw Book 
by Kenneth GrahameErnest H. Shepard (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

A beautiful board book with jigsaw puzzles on the pages. I will NEVER take those puzzle pieces out. They are too perfect! I adore Shepard’s whimsical illustrations, and enjoyed reading the little excerpts from the Wind in the Willows book that accompany each puzzle.
So cute!

Book Review: Fell Farm Holiday

Fell Farm Holiday by Marjorie Lloyd
Fell Farm Holiday (Fell Farm, #1) 
by Marjorie Lloyd

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


I am just delighted with this old-fashioned book about five siblings camping out and climbing the fells for their summer holidays. The simple charm of the story, the amusing dynamics between the Browne siblings, and the details of their little camping adventures, kept me absorbed and interested through every chapter.

The two eldest siblings are Pat and Kay, twins with a love for hiking and camping. Pat is the leader of the group, and prides himself on his knowledge of survival and mapping. Kay is the quartermaster of the group, taking special care of the meals and all the supplies.

The next set of twins are Jan and Hyacinth. Jan is obsessed with birds, and creates his own hiding spots where he can observe and sketch the birds of the fells. Hyacinth is more imaginative and dreamy, and loves to write stories of her own.
And the smallest sibling is Sally, who is only eight years old, and so is not allowed to stay out all night camping, but still manages to join in the fun whenever possible.

I adore this whole series!

Book Review: Aunt Jane’s Nieces in Society

Aunt Jane's Nieces in Society by Edith Van Dyne
Aunt Jane’s Nieces in Society (Aunt Jane’s Nieces, #5) 
by Edith Van Dyne

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Beth, Louise, and Patsy are three cousins, who gain entry into fashionable society through their wealthy Uncle John’s influence. They discover that being part of the rich elite in New York City is not all parties, receptions, and dances. When Louise becomes involved with a questionable gentleman, the girls will need all of Uncle John’s help to save Louise from the despicable machinations of a desperate rogue.

I love this 5th book in the Aunt Jane’s Nieces series! The plot has lots of intrigue and action, and of course, the sweet nieces are adorable. I enjoy the simple writing style, and the wholesome storylines.
I found all the characters to be interesting and complex, especially the cold and mysterious socialite, Diana, who pretends to befriend our new young debutantes.

Book Review: Edie on the Warpath

Edie On The Warpath by Elizabeth C. Spykman
Edie On The Warpath 
by Elizabeth C. Spykman

4 out of 5 stars

Eleven-year-old Edie is declaring a war on men! Edie is tired of being told to act like a little lady, while her brothers have the freedom to play games and have fun all up and down the countryside. She hears about the suffragettes and tries to join one of their parades, but instead gets into trouble with the police.
Her stepmother entrusts her with the care of the youngest Cares siblings, hoping that it will settle Edie’s wild spirit with some responsibility, but Edie tries to train the littlest girls to romp through the fields, climb trees, and explore the streams of the woods.
Edie’s rebellious soul is maddened every time someone tells her, “You’re only a girl.” Edie plans to find the perfect way to prove to everyone, especially her own family, that she is so much more than “just a girl.”

I absolutely adore Edie! She has the most disastrous ideas, and she is never boring. She has so much courage and hope in her little heart, and a beautiful capacity for trouble! She starts out with such good intentions, and I loved reading all the hilarious situations she finds herself in. Continue reading

Book Review: The Wild Angel

The Wild Angel by Elizabeth C. Spykman
The Wild Angel 
by Elizabeth C. Spykman

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

A sweet story about a group of siblings growing up at the turn of the century. They run wild through the country hills, chasing errant cows, and tracking down wayward lost dogs. They hate visiting their aunt and grandfather in the city, and sometimes find trouble at school.

The siblings see the world from their child’s point of view, and that gets them into difficulties because they don’t really understand how things work in the real world outside their comfortable family home. They are an unusual bunch of hooligans, with their own squabbles and childish secrets, but they all ultimately band together to protect their family. Continue reading

Book Review: Freddy the Detective

Freddy the Detective by Walter R. Brooks
Freddy the Detective 
by Walter R. Brooks, Kurt Wiese (Illustrator)

4 out of 5 stars

A cute, old-fashioned children’s story about Freddy, an intelligent pig, who reads about Sherlock Holmes and decides to become a detective. All the farmyard animals bring their little problems to Freddy, and he does some sleuthing to solve their mysteries. A little rabbit goes missing, someone steals a toy train, and a cat is wrongfully accused of murdering a crow, but Freddy is up to the task, looking for clues, and tracking down heartless criminals.

I enjoyed the charming old style of writing, and the simple story lines. The characters are sweet and funny, and they kept my interest. I liked how Freddy makes mistakes at first. He is not a very good detective to begin with, but he learns quickly and does a better job each time he tries.
Continue reading

Book Review: The Big Six

The Big Six by Arthur Ransome
The Big Six (Swallows and Amazons, #9) 
by Arthur Ransome

5 out of 5 stars

Joe, Bill, and Pete are fixing up their boat, the Death and Glory, with bunks, cupboards, and a little stove, so that they can camp out on the river all winter long. When someone starts casting off boats in the middle of the night, it gets blamed on the boys, and they have to prove their innocence. With the help of Coot Club members, Tom, Dick, and Dorothea, they start their own detective agency to track down the real culprits.

As always, I adore this interesting story, full of nautical knowledge and adorable characters. The plot really keeps the mystery moving as each clue comes to light, and the desperation and anxiety of the characters keeps the tension high, even if some of the plot points are a little predictable. The story is not so much about the mystery, as it is about how the characters follow the mystery. Continue reading