Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Introduces great characters in book packed with action
Cons: Trixie and Honey a bit annoying at the beginning (which does change as the book progresses)
The Bottom Line:
Come make life long friends
As this great mystery series
Has its first chapter
Where It All Began
Thirteen year old Trixie Belden is convinced that this summer will be long and boring. With her older brothers at camp, she'll only have her parents and much younger brother for companionship.
But then a family with a girl her age moves into the house next door. Even better, Honey's family has horses. Out for a ride, they go over to explore the mansion of another neighbor, Old Man Frayne. Trying to close up the place for him, they discover his great nephew Jim. Jim has just run away from a cruel stepfather. With Mr. Frayne sick in the hospital, they start looking for the treasure rumored to be hidden in the old house somewhere. Can they find it? Will Jim's stepfather catch up with him?
This is the first book in the Trixie Belden series. I discovered the series when I was in jr. high, and, almost 20 years later, I still love it. The characters are real, with strengths and weaknesses. Heck, Trixie even gets mad at her friends and family upon occasion. I was drawn to these books because of the friendships displayed, and I used to dream about being part of the group.
This book introduces only three of the series main characters. Trixie and Honey are not themselves at first, but by the end of the book, they are already acting more like themselves. Their characters show the best of what can happen when you pick up on a friend's strengths. Trixie goes from selfish and whiney to thinking about others and being grateful for what she has. Being around tomboyish Trixie helps Honey get over her fears and start to do more things she's always wanted to do but been too afraid to try. While I find the characters a little annoying at first, they are very true to their ages and the changes are believable yet happen quickly enough not to turn off readers.
The storyline in this book never lets up either, with lots of stuff going on to keep anyone entertained. When I read this book the first time, I knew (or thought I knew) the outcome, but there was so much going on I was entertained the entire way through. The best part is the cliffhanger ending. You'll definitely want to have the second book ready to go. Along the way, there's a rapid dog, airplane crash, horseback rides, fire, copperhead snake bite, and treasure hunt.
Originally written in 1948, this new edition retains the original text and inside illustrations. While some of the references show their age, I didn't pick up on them as a kid (in the 80's), and I'm sure today's kids will be so entranced by the story that they won't notice some of the out dated words. While the story does deal with some serious themes like child abuse, Trixie has a very normal, 50's home life. The time period certainly shows up there.