#957 Deep Trouble by R.L. Stine

Deep Trouble by R.L. StineDeep Trouble by R.L. Stine

Billy and Sheena are spending the uncle with their uncle, Dr. D, who is a marine researcher. The kids are with him on his ship, as well as an assistant named Alexander. Billy is told not to swim in the lagoon area beside the fire coral, but he soon finds out why fire coral is called fire coral. Some big time zoo people want to pay Dr. D to find a mermaid, which seems absurd. Mermaids aren’t real, or so everyone thinks.

One morning Billy is out swimming, where he’s not supposed to be, and a shark tries to attack him. Something comes to his defense. He’s incredibly surprised to find out that the creature that came to his defense is a mermaid. She’s caught up in a net along with Billy. Dr. D wants to study her, but it isn’t long before mean people show up. How in the world did they know about the mermaid? Can everyone make it out of this situation ok?

What I liked

I did not read this Billy and Sheena book, which goes with the Creep from the Deep on purpose. I didn’t even know that this was what the book was about. I liked that I inadvertently read this.

I do find the folklore surrounding mermaids interesting, although, I do not think they exist. It’s pretty much impossible. People are mammals and fish are fish. A person who had a fish tail wouldn’t work out very well.

What I didn’t like

Part of me thinks this idea of animals being in a zoo for people to see is great. Zoos have certainly helped preserve some species of animals by initiating breeding and conservation programs. On the other hand, I do find it’s a bit sad for some animals, as great as they are, to be locked away in cages.


Just don’t swim over there.

Weigh In

If you found an officially unknown creature, what would you do?

Would you capture an animal if you knew you would get a lot of money for it?

#957 Deep Trouble by R.L. Stine was originally published on One-elevenbooks


#956 Snowbound Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Snowbound Mystery by Gertrude Chandler WarnerSnowbound Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Aldens are going nut hunting in the snowy wilderness near a cabin. The friends they meet have been looking for a family recipe for buns, but they haven’t been able to find it. The cabin was a family cabin, but had been out of the family for a while. The Aldens are fascinated by the squirrels in the area. They stock up nuts for the winter and hide away somewhere. A snow storm comes up somewhat unexpectedly and the Aldens end up stuck in the cabin with their friends for a while.

They have plenty of food to eat, but something happens. There is wind and snow and apparently there had been a hole somewhere in the roof of the cabin that squirrels had taken advantage of. The squirrels happened to have revealed something someone had been looking for in all of the confusion.

What I liked

I feel like I’ve grown to recognize when a Boxcar book was written by Gertrude rather than pretend Gertrude. This one has more to it than the newer Boxcar books. The story is more interesting. There is just more to it– more intrigue and more side-story. I liked the bit about the squirrels. I also liked that the family found something they were looking for.

What I didn’t like

There is a chance kids today might not get the fact that the Aldens get stranded in a cabin because there’s a storm. Kids today would wonder why they didn’t call somebody on their cell phones to let them know. There weren’t cell phones when Gertrude wrote this and if a bad storm came up while you were out, you might just get stuck spending the night in a strange place or with people you didn’t know that well. Despite the fact that this story may not exactly be relateable to kids these days, it’s still a good story for kids I think.


Attic squirrels can cause a ruckus.

Weigh in

Would you mind squirrels in your attic?

If you had to spend the night in a cabin because a snow-storm stranded you, what would you want to have to entertain yourself?

#956 Snowbound Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner was originally published on One-elevenbooks

#955 Creep from the Deep by R.L. Stine

Creep from the Deep by R.L. StineCreep from the Deep by R.L. Stine

Billy and Sheena are visiting their uncle who is like a marine biologist. He has a submarine, a real submarine. He takes Billy and Sheena in the submarine to go and investigate the ocean floor. Somehow they get separated. There’s a sunken pirate ship and what looks like a skeletal pirate. They end up on an island, thinking they’re saved, but it turns out there are other people on the island. They learn about a man named Captain Ben who was a terrifying pirate. There was a treasure.

It turns out the pirates are still around though, but not very alive, in the traditional sense of the word. They have Billy’s uncle, but Billy has something of theirs. Will they make it out alive?

What I liked

I don’t know how I managed to read two books concerning pirates one after the other. I didn’t even know this book had anything to do with pirates. In part, this kind of makes me want to read up on pirates. I did get a chance to spend some time on Okracoke island sometime back, which was Blackbeard’s hangout. It’s not very piratey today, but it’s neat to think that he frequented the area.

What I didn’t like

What’s the deal with pirates being undead? This is actually something I’ve heard about in multiple stories, including The Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Is there something about being a pirate that makes it more likely that you’ll end up as a person of the “undead” persuasion? I’m a pirate– alas, I live on even after death because…I had scurvy? From my knowledge of pirates, they weren’t necessarily going around disturbing ancient treasures that may or may not be cursed. They were stealing modern-day stuff from other ships, trade ships and royal ships. This was stuff like guns and the money they had on board. At the time the money was in fact gold, so the “treasure” aspect of this is still true. I would think that if any career choice would make you cursed, and therefore undead, it would be the explorers who forced their way into Native American lands murdering and stealing and destroying spiritual and cultural artifacts along the way, but we never hear about Cortez the cursed undead explorer out for blood.


I guess don’t mess with pirate ship wrecks because there’s a good chance the pirates might be undead and then you’ll just have a heck of a lot more trouble than you bargained for.

Weigh In

If you even began to believe that a pirate wreck might be cursed, would you still go near it?

In your opinion, what profession would be more likely to be cursed than pirates?

#955 Creep from the Deep by R.L. Stine was originally published on One-elevenbooks

#954 The Mystery of the Pirate’s Map created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Mystery of the Pirate's Map created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Mystery of the Pirate’s Map created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Aldens are visiting one of Grandfather’s friends who lives near the beach. They decide to go exploring on the beach where Benny finds and old bottle. Inside the bottle is a piece of paper with part of a map on it. They soon learn about a pirate who used to live in the area and the legend goes that he buried a treasure and split the map into three pieces. People start getting pushy when they learn what Benny found.

Is there actually a treasure? If so, would the Aldens keep it?

What I liked

I think the idea of pirate treasure is fun. I’d like to find something really neat buried in my yard one day. A pirate left an entire treasure here–let me just go buy a house.

Pirates were not nice people. The pirates who are around today still aren’t nice people, but I guess the idea of sailing around the seas, taking whatever you want, and hanging out on whatever island you want is appealing.

What I didn’t like

I don’t really think the Aldens should let someone else in on the treasure action. Finders keepers, at least as far as treasures that are over a hundred years old are concerned–keep the treasure. I get being all “this belongs in a museum for posterity,” but you could certainly sell this item to a museum or a collector who would put it in a museum.

I think it would be a hard choice for me, if I found a treasure. I’d like to buy a house, avocado toast be darned, and finding an old treasure would certainly help with that goal, but at the same time, I have studied art history and I do feel that maybe some things do belong in museums to be enjoyed by anyone who would go there.


…A message in bottle *how do I make music notes?* Somebody beat you to the idea, Sting.

Weigh in

If you found a treasure, would you keep it?

Do you go treasure hunting on the beach?

#954 The Mystery of the Pirate’s Map created by Gertrude Chandler Warner was originally published on One-elevenbooks

#953 Monster Blood for Breakfast by R.L. Stine

Monster Blood for Breakfast by R.L. StineMonster Blood for Breakfast by R.L. Stine

Matt is thrown together with a boy named Bradley quite often, but Bradley is annoying. He tries to copy things Matt does. He wears Matt’s shirts. He messes with Matt’s things. It’s not fun.

One day Matt finds a strange website on his computer that Bradley had gone to. It was about something called Monster Blood, whatever that is.

It turns out Monster Blood is real and it makes you grow. Bradley wants to take it you be like Matt. Some shuffling happens and Matt ends up getting the monster blood. What’s going to happen to him?

What I liked

We’ve all known someone annoying who bugs the heck out of us. That’s who Bradley is. While it is annoying to even think about people like this, it’s nice to commiserate.

What I didn’t like

It’s a bit cringe-y to hear about someone like Bradley. It’s just exasperating.

Why would you ever want to be someone else?


Strange mail-order items probably aren’t worth it.

Weigh in

Would you ever buy something called Monster Blood?

Has there been a person in your life who is as annoying as Bradley?

#953 Monster Blood for Breakfast by R.L. Stine was originally published on One-elevenbooks