#898 The Summer Camp Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Summer Camp Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Summer Camp Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Aldens are going to summer camp at a camp that has an Olympic competition each summer. Things don’t go well from the start. Their luggage is lost. The flag, which was Henry’s responsibility, disappears from his cabin.  Someone steals one of their ideas. The Aldens aren’t sure who seems to be sabotaging their camp experience.

What I liked

Ah, camp shenanigans — like the time we stole a girl’s panties and ran them up the flagpole, complete with passive aggressive notes. She wasn’t very nice.

Part of camp is about pranking other campers, which is something the Aldens have not escaped.

What I didn’t like

I don’t feel like there’s a lot of content to this book. Maybe it was just my mindset while reading it.

Overall

You’re probably going to get pranked at camp.

Weigh in

Did you ever go to camp?

Did you play pranks at camp, if you went?

#898 The Summer Camp Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner was originally published on One-elevenbooks

Advertisements

#897 The Creature in Ogopogo Lake created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Creature in Ogopogo Lake created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Creature in Ogopogo Lake created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Grandfather is visiting his friend, Abby, in Canada. Of course the children are going along. Abby owns some cottages along Lake Okanagan, which she rents to cryptid hunters. Those hunters come to the lake in search of Ogopogo, the sea creature, or lake creature, as it may be. Business hasn’t been good though and Abby will probably have to sell her resort.

Some people say a good Ogopogo sighting would help business pick up. The Alden children, who are against people selling their resorts and hotels, volunteer their services to help Abby keep her resort, but strange things start happening. Can the Aldens get to the bottom of all that is strange? Will they see Ogopogo?

What I liked

Ogopogo is real, or, rather, Ogopogo is a real cryptid, which means you cannot confirm or deny that Ogopogo is real. You can Google Ogopogo and will find that he’s basically Canada’s version of the Loch Ness monster. Again, no one can prove or disprove the Loch Ness monster or Ogopogo. You’ll just have to wonder.

There are multiple Native American stories about lake and sea monsters. Ogopogo probably started as just such a thing.

What I didn’t like

I need to make a big list of all the things the Aldens get to do that I didn’t get to do as a child, or that many of us didn’t get to do as children.

Otherwise, I don’t think this one was bad, although, it’s kind of a jerk move to sabotage someone’s business, lake monster or not.

Oh, and, if the Aldens are so anti-ghost, do you think that a lake monster would ever be real in the world of the Aldens? Lake monster are not something people readily believe in.

Overall

Come and see the lake monster; you can stay at my hotel.

Weigh in

Would you ever believe in a lake monster?

If lake monsters were real, do you think it would change your view of reality?

#897 The Creature in Ogopogo Lake created by Gertrude Chandler Warner was originally published on One-elevenbooks

#894 The Vampire Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Vampire Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Vampire Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Aldens learn about a local author who wrote a vampire book. They get to meet him, but he’s having trouble selling his house. Things keep happening. Someone steals his for sale signs. Plants get pulled up. Strange things keep happening in general. There are whispers that it could be a vampire, as the author based the house in the book on his own home, complete with  a graveyard in the backyard. Can the Aldens get to the bottom of this undead mystery?

What I liked

This is one of The Boxcar Children books where the author tries to mix in a little “woo” to the very realistic world of the Aldens. While I appreciate the effort, because it does spice things up a bit, I don’t think it worked.

What I didn’t like

I am not a huge fan of the idea of vampires. I do not understand the obsession. The United States doesn’t have a huge history of vampires. If you visit places like New Orleans, there’s a bit more local lore about vampires than the rest of the United States. We simply don’t have that local history of vampires like Europe does, or even places besides Europe. Vampires have stories from all over the world.

The author tried to bring some “woo” into this book, but it doesn’t work because we know the Aldens are just going to figure out that it’s something logical. The same thing happens with the other Boxcar Children books that mention ghosts or banshees as possible culprits in weird goings-on. Does the author expect me, or anybody, to actually believe the Aldens are going after a real vampire, or ghost, or banshee? There is a running story element in this book series in which the phrase, “Ghosts aren’t real,” is repeated over and over again; vampires certainly aren’t going to be real if ghosts aren’t.

Unlike Scooby Doo, where there are some actual ghosts and monsters from time to time, the Aldens have regular, old human culprits all the time.

Overall

A vampire did it…oh, wait, it’s just a guy.

Weigh In

What do you think about vampires?

What do you think about series, television or book, that present themselves as logical and real that try to throw in the supernatural as an actual story element?

#894 The Vampire Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner was originally published on One-elevenbooks

#892 Pop Goes the Weasel by James Patterson

Pop Goes the Weasel by James PattersonPop Goes the Weasel by James Patterson

Unfortunately, this is another James Patterson book in which I don’t have much of an idea about what’s going on. This is what I remember–there are four men, playing a deadly game. Each man has named himself after one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Murders are happening and a detective is trying to catch the men, mainly one man, playing this deadly game. That man happens to be a government official, of  some sort, and meanwhile, someone kidnaps the detective’s wife and baby. Maybe she’s a fiancée, I forget.

What I liked

I want to say something positive about this book. I’m sure there’s something positive; I just can’t put my finger on it right now.

What I didn’t like

For the life of me, I do not understand what is so difficult about James Patterson books for me. Every single book I’ve read by him has been this way. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m listening to them, but I’ve listened to plenty of other books and still end up with an understanding of the events that happened in the book. It seems odd that the anomaly would be from one author.

Maybe it’s because the idea of filler-thriller isn’t my thing? James is quite prolific and certainly has a formula for writing  his books. That formula enables his books to be consumed, mass-market, by many people. Maybe I tune it out because it has that feel to me? I don’t really know.

I’m sure there are lots of people who love reading James Patterson; he wouldn’t be a bestselling author if that wasn’t the case. Unfortunately, James doesn’t catch my book fancy in such a way as I would have hoped.

Overall

No nursery rhyme is safe; hide your kids; hide your wife.

Weigh In

If you were to pick a nursery rhyme to write a thriller about, which would you  choose?

What do you think about filler-thriller?

#892 Pop Goes the Weasel by James Patterson was originally published on One-elevenbooks

#891 The Giant Yo-yo Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Giant Yo-yo Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

 The Giant Yo-yo Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Aldens are poking their noses around again and get introduced to a furniture maker who is trying to make the world’s largest yo-yo in order to receive a world record. They put themselves to work right away. Things start happening though. Wood orders get cancelled. Plans disappear. Information about a previous attempt at the world record for largest yo-yo comes out. Turns out, someone else wanted to make a giant yo-yo and that person used to be friends with this guy. Who in the wide-world of yo-yos is sabotaging this effort to yo the largest yo?

What I liked

I liked that the author was able to create a bunch of drama surrounding a yo-yo.

What I didn’t like

I almost want to say, “Who cares?”

Sure, you can build a giant yo-yo for a world record, but don’t you have better things to do with your time? Would an object that heavy even function like a normal yo-yo? At some point, there’s going to be a trade-off between mass and the ability to yo, at least I imagine there would be. Does a furniture maker understand the physics behind this?

All of this drama seems a bit much for a darn yo-yo.

Overall

YOLO, so make a giant yo-yo.

Weigh in

Would you make a giant anything for a world record?

Has an inanimate object ever caused this much drama in your life?

#891 The Giant Yo-yo Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner was originally published on One-elevenbooks