Monday, May 7, 2018

Books With Bean ~ Trixie Belden #1: The Secret of the Mansion

Books With Bean, book reviews by teens, Trixie Belden, mysteries for kids

Title: Trixie Belden #1: The Secret of the Mansion 

Author: Julie Campbell 

Published: 1948

Genre:  Adventure, Mystery 

Summary: 13 year old Trixie Belden's summer has started off really slow. Her older brothers are off at camp, and living outside of town means she doesn’t get to see her school friends very often now that school is out for the summer. With nothing to do but look after her little brother Bobby and weed the garden, Trixie thinks the summer will be really boring until she finds out a family has bought the mansion next door and they have a girl who is her age. Excited at seeing they have horses, Trixie goes over to introduce herself and meets Honey who is the definition of a poor little rich girl. At first Trixie doesn’t think Honey will be much fun but they soon become friends and Honey’s groom Reagan even starts to teach Trixie how to ride. 
Trixie’s other neighbor, the old Mr. Fayne, was taken to the hospital the morning of the day she meets Honey. Since Trixie has always wanted to know what the inside of his house looks like she convinces Honey to go explore the old mansion with her. When they get there they find a boy in the house who is the great nephew of Mr. Fayne. Jim has run away from his cruel stepfather and came looking for Mr. Fayne hoping that he will take care of him. While Mr. Fayne in in the hospital the three kids decide to look around his house for the fortune that is rumored to be hidden inside. Even though their search seems fruitless they become friends and Trixie finds her summer turning out not as boring as she thought it would be. 

What I liked about it: I have always liked Trixie Belden better then Nancy Drew as far as young female detectives go. She always seemed a lot more realistic to me. Instead of being rich and having whatever she wants, Trixie is a normal girl with annoying older and younger brothers,  chores around the family’s small farm, and true honest friends. Yes, Honey does have money, but she is never shown as stuck up. In fact, she remarks several times about how she wished she had a more simple life like Trixie. Their mysteries are fun and intriguing while not being overly complicated. 

Language: None

Romance: As the books go on past the first few and the main cast of characters grows to the full three boy and three girls it becomes apparent that each of the boys like one of the girls and vice versa but as with keeping with the younger audience for the time the books were originally written it never becomes all about the romance and not about the stories. In fact besides it occasionally mentioning that so and so likes so and so it never really gets in to anything romantic at all. 

Violence: Occasionally the bad guys have guns or grab arms tightly but there is never any really graphic violence. 

Magic: None. 

Recommended Age: Trixie is 13 when the books start and gets a little older as the books go on but I would say 12-13 is a good age to start. But they aren’t so long or complicated that a kid of 11 couldn’t read them. 

Books With Bean, book reviews by teens, Trixie Belden, mysteries for kids

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