Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Bobbsey Twins' Search in the Great City

Originally published in 1917 under the title The Bobbsey Twins in a Great City, The Bobbsey Twins' Search in the Great City is the first book I've read of this series. When I started reading mysteries, I plunged straight in with the teenagers--Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, a few Dana Girls, and Trixie Belden. I always thought the Bobbsey twins would be a bit young for my tastes. So, you might ask, why did I pick this one up now? Well, my mom had mentioned that she had read some of them when she was young and I needed a book published in 1917 for a challenge (it almost always boils down to a challenge for me when it's something off the usual).

Just before setting off on a trip to New York City, the Bobbsey twins meet Jack Whipple, a man who works on an estate turned public park and zoo outside their hometown. When "Uncle Jack" as they decide to call him discovers that they are headed to the big city, he mentions wistfully that he wonders if his long-lost brother and sister (who also happen to be twins) are there. The last he'd heard of them they were supposedly bound for NYC. The twins promise to keep their eyes open for any Whipples they might meet. In the end they help the old man to find his long-lost brother and sister, as well as to catch the man who had robbed the estate and then tried to frame Whipple.

Like so many of these books, there are a great many coincidences involved here. But they are good, simple mysteries and reflect a much simpler time. Could you imagine if the twins got themselves lost in NYC today? The parents would lose their children to Child Services and probably be thrown in jail for neglect. Instead, everyone who comes in contact with the Bobbsey family are friendly and helpful and only want to see the kids safely back where they belong.

It does stretch the imagination a bit that the kids would repeatedly go astray. If my dad had told me not to wander off once, that would have been enough. Pretty posters or music wouldn't have made me disobey repeatedly. And Dad wouldn't have been so good-natured about it if I had. A little bit of discipline would be a good thing. Other than the "can't stay put where they ought to be" syndrome, the kids are good kids--kind-hearted and respectful of the people around them and wanting to help anyone they can. The mystery isn't much, but I didn't really expect 6-12 year olds to be dealing with hardened criminals and murder. ★★ for a pleasant read.


fredamans said...

Love the Bobbsey Twins. Don't think there is one I didn't read as a child. Great review!

Anonymous said...

I was startled by the appearance of this review this morning. I have just finished and was inspired to review immediately, Melanie Rehak's excellent, thorough, 2005 essay about the creators of Franklin W. Dixon and Laura Lee Hope, emphasizing Carolyn Keene. Since you loved the American historical background of Phyllis A. Whitney's "Step To The Music": this is a must. I would love to discuss it with you thereafter. Fun fact:, my reviewing and editing technique is to never exceed 300 so my piece doesn't tell you much but I believe you will enjoy it. This was a time when it was tempting to elaborate longer!

It clarifies that it's an in-depth essay about the times these authors lived in, affecting these series' unusual success and longevity. At first glance, "Girl Sleuth" looks like a trivia book, which a detail person like me would enjoy but it really is much more, for people with patience through the social change backgrounds. As for Phyllis' civil war romance, both genres had be reading solely out of loyalty but I too, enjoyed it beyond expectations and gave it 4 stars as you did. I love that she dedicated it to her daughter, Georgia. Carolyn.

Anonymous said...

My review of "Girl Sleuth, Nancy Drew & The Women Who Created Her", 2005, is here.
My review of "Step To The Music", 1953, Phyllis A. Whitney is here.