Nancy Drew – My First Chapter Book

Did anyone read The Nancy Drew Notebooks? If you did can you pleaaaase show some love down below? It’s just that I haven’t met many people (even online) that love these junior version of everyone’s favourite girl detective.

The original Nancy Drew mysteries were created in the 1930s with the first novel published in April, 1930. The Nancy Drew Notebooks ran from 1994 to 2005.

I first discovered these at a library book sale. The deal was, how many books you could hold in your hand was a dollar. So if you could hold 50 books, you only need to pay a dollar. Best sale isn’t it. But if you only found one book that interest you, that’s still a dollar. So the natural thing to do was to take advantage of your dollars worth. I had a small pile of chapter books.

This was one of the books in my pile. That’s obviously a painting of real people, but I don’t want to read and picture ‘real’ people renacting the scenes in the book. No! I want cartoons! So the book was left to the side whilst I read the children books that had cartoon illustrations. One day I finished them all and I had nothing left to read during the summer holidays, so I read the snippet. And hey, what do you know, it actually kept me reading.

Let’s discover what Nancy Drew’s childhood was all about, shall we?

#7 Trouble At Camp Treehouse

Nancy wants to go swimming at Camp Treehouse but she doesn’t want to fight with her best friend because Bess hates swimming. They are in their cabin. Ah, camp. This camp story is way better than Camp Counsellors. Nancy’s new friend Lauren says, “You can come swimming with me.” I instantly don’t like Lauren. Can’t she see this is a matter between two best friends and not a newbie (I have my personally issues here).

Their camp counsellor Mary Ann walks into the ‘Bluebird’s’ cabins which is made up of: Nancy, Bess, Lauren, Dana (impatient child), Nora and Joanna (two best friends that dress alike). It’s the first day of camp and everyone needs to sign up for activities. [I never went to camp like these, so all this was very interesting to me.] Everyone is ready to leave the cabin except Lauren, who is red in the face.

“My camera has been stolen!” she cries.

Her bag contains many rolled up items; rolled up sweatshirt, socks, jeans, shorts. There are also her bathing suit, plastic bag with soap and toothbrush, but no camera. No one in the Bluebird cabin would steal her camera,or would they? Apparently this Lauren girl loses everything so she might have lost her camera as well, but who knows for sure. Nancy speaks to Nora and Joanna while Bess speaks to Dana about the camera over breakfast. Dana, Nora and Joanna played cards together last night and Nora and Joanna went to the toilet for fifteen minutes. Nancy writes this in her notebook. Bess tells her to include David Mulholland because he’s such a prankster. He might have stolen it as a joke.

At the treehouse, the male councellor asks if anyone can return Mary Ann’s sunglasses to the Blueberry cabin. David quickly volunteers in hope of setting up a prank for the girls, so Nancy and Bess follow. But David isn’t sure where the girls’ cabin are. The girls decide that he probably didn’t steal the camera after all.

When the girls went to play volletball, Lauren rolls her locket up in tissue. After the game she cries because she thinks she lost it, but it was only Bess protecting it in her own pocket.

Nancy goes back to the cabin and writes down clues and suspects into her blue notebook. I loved the idea of a detectives notebook so much I even owned one myself. Nancy thinks over this mystery and believes maybe it’s just too hard to solve. Nancy, if you can’t figure this one out, no one *cough can!

At the campfire, Nancy sees Dana holding a camera! She follows her but it turns out Dana just found a camera lying on the floor and thought it was Laura’s. It wasn’t.

Finally, the last day of camp has arrived. It is Nancy’s last chance to go swimming so she does, even though Bess is now upset. Aww. Lauren took her watch off and rolled it up in her towel. Her mother “said it’s the best way to take care of things and not lose them”. Nancy just got a bright idea. She runs back to the cabin and shows Lauren her camera is in her rolled up sweatshirt. Mystery solved!

What. The. Hell.

If Lauren knew to roll items safely, wouldn’t the first place she should look is in her rolled up clothing? Wouldn’t she empty her bag and unroll everything?! What were you thinking Lauren! Or not thinking.

This is what I love about The Nancy Drew Notebooks. You can read a mystery and find the solution in less than a day. Nancy also writes a reflection in her notebook after each case, which I believe is sweet. I love Anthony Accardo’s illustrations. Nancy and Bess are so pretty!

Hoorah! Bess isn't scared of water anymore.

Skellig by David Almond

Skellig was David Almond’s first children’s novel that was published in 1998 in Great Britain. It went on to win the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year.

Skellig is about Michael who finds a man living in his battered dusty garage. His family just moved to their new rotten home, which is in need of repair. He has lunch in the garden; a can of coke and a sandwich. I found this simple and enticing. It’s such a classic european lunch. I wounded up craving for coke (but I like pepsi) and a turkey sandwich.

Michael went into the garage that looks like it’s about to topple over, even after his parents said not to. He finds a man with bluebottles in his air, behind a tea chest. He’s thin and pale and incredibly rude. Michael tries to be nice to it but the man doesn’t want to be bothered. He just wants to be left alone and die. If I were Michael, I would tell my parents that a strange man/creature was living in our garage! But no, Michael decides to keep it a secret and to feed it his left over chinese take-away in the middle of the night. The man calls himself Arthur for Arthur Itis, and he calls spring rolls and pork char sui ‘food of the gods’. It’s 1am. This is making me hungry.

Michael’s baby sister was born prematurely and must undergo heart surgery. He’s worried that she won’t survive and stays away from school to keep his misery to himself. He makes a friend with Mina who is homeschooled. I believe she’s secretly jealous of Michael’s school mates, because when Michael actually attends school she doesn’t get to see him as much as she wishes. While thinking of his baby sister, Michael tells Mina about Arthur because he wants to help him get better. They take him to a adanboned home and discover that Arthur has wings! He’s an angel!

The moral of this story is to show kindness, and kindness will be shown to you. Michael fed and cared about a man that ate rats and bugs; something a regular person is not known to do. In the end Michael got what he deserved.

It’s a beautiful tale and I can see why Almond won so many awards. To be honest, this took me two to three months to read. It’s not particular long, it’s a children’s novel, but the writing was slow paced and simple. I was never engaged with the story.

If you enjoyed this book, leave a comment.

Camp Counselors – Summer Fling

Book #1 by Diane Ames. I orginally did not want to include books from book series into this blog, but that would be too limited. The 90s were all about book series.

What a breath of fresh air from reading Nancy Drew Mysteries. This book has personality- PERSONALITY! – fun, and camping! I love the idea of camping. Me, camping, I don’t know . . . I normally complain. I hate sleeping in tents.

So here’s what happens. The story starts off with junior counselors Annie and her best friend Jennifer in the cabin discussing Annie’s engagement with whom she is head over hills in love with; David. David is in California. Lisa is a shy girl who joins the girls later. She has low self-esteem, she is a doormat, and is a try-hard (wants people to like her). A new counsellor joins the cast; Nicole. She is a stereotypical rich b***h. I would not know how to handle someone as annoying as Nicole. I’m the complainer so it doesn’t help when someone else complains; that means its my duty to LOVE camping.

There’s a new male counsellor too. Gil is all the way from Melbourne, Australian and Nicole is all over him.

“Can she be anymore obvious?” Jennifer says of Nicole’s constant flirting.

The problem is Gil has a thing for Annie, but she’s in love with David. Nicole accuses Annie for trying to steal him and gives her a hard time. Annie’s all “everybody loves me why does she hate me so much” bla bla bla.

Annie is soooo in love with David, she cries because she misses him so much. HAHAHA. This love story is hilarious. She lets herself fall in love with Gil and she doesn’t tell him about David! She plans on keeping her two boyfriends a secret, and I’m supposed to feel sorry for her?

Meanwhile this eight year old called Sarah is being pressured by her father to be an expert in tennis but she pretty much sucks. She can’t even hit the ball. That just destroys my belief that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. I choose to stand by my belief. Sarah is really good at art though. So am I!!!

David calls Annie’s best friend Jennifer that he’s making a surprise visit on Annie’s birthday. Nicole the brat finds out about this and tells Lisa to follow her wonderful scheme. Lisa does it of course because she is desperate for a best friend. Lisa tells Gil to give Annie a birthday surprise by singing happy birthday with a birthday cake. Great scheme Nicole. I was hoping for something better. Maybe you should get some tips from Jessica Wakefield.

Annie’s birthday occurs during the dance. Annie is surprised that she is alone at the dance. Then Jennifer surprises Annie by bringing out David. The lights go out and Gil comes towards her with a birthday cake. He calls her “honey”. David’s like “honey?” Gil notices that David is holding her very close around the waist. Gil and David find out that Annie has been seeing both of them. Gil finds out they are engaged. Both boys are very upset and walk away. I was hoping for a punch on or something. Damn.

So guess what happens next? Not much. Annie is miserable and sad and blames Nicole. She’s going to get back at Nicole she says. Oh pah leez. You deserved that. Nicole’s scheme was tame but it still turned out pretty funny.

Poor David. In the end David forgives her and wants her back but Annie doesn’t want him anymore. She wants Gil. Bye, bye David.

Sarah finds out her parents are coming to camp early to see her play tennis. She freaks out because she sucks! They’re coming in three days. She can’t improve and become an expert in three days! What does a child do when something like this happens? They run away.

The camp plan a search party for Sarah. There’s a thunderstorm. Gil offers to help Annie find Sarah (that means he forgives her) and they do. Annie convinces Sarah’s parents that she isn’t an athlete and see how wonderful she is as an artist.

Am I crazy to think you should work hard on something you’re bad at than something you’re already an expert?

This book was so-so. The thing that annoyed me about this chapter book was how the girls were playing pranks on the head of the girl’s camp Mara. They believed she was being too uptight because she wanted the place clean and ready for the campers to arrive. She’s being a head councellor! That’s her job! It’s called being organized. Gosh. I wonder what these junior councellors will be like as the head councellor.

Another thing that annoyed me was my favorite character Jennifer (a tom boy) wanted a love interest and she never got one. Annie gets two and she gets none. There’s four books in this series. The second one features Lisa, then Nicole (yay!) but I don’t know about the fourth one. If it’s not about Jennifer then I will not be happy.

Annie gets back at Nicole by . . . telling her that she and Gil are back together. Annie you suck. These girls don’t have any imagination to come up with anything better or they’re too nice.

Picture from lovely.pastels from ebay.com.

Dogs Don’t Tell Jokes, by Louis Sachar

Aww, why? Why? Why! I am very disappointed. He should have made a squeal. Is there a sequel? If not then, why!

 

This book is the sequel to Someday Angeline. I never knew that until I searched it up, and I will try and obtain a copy of that someday, but I’m more interested in Gary Boone. His classmates call him Goon. He’s always telling jokes, no matter how lame they are, and never takes anything seriously. People at school think he’s weird so he doesn’t have any friends. People at school bully him, because he never gets mad, he just laughs. The only friends he has is Angeline, Gus, Abel, and Miss. Turbone. Abel is Angeline’s dad and Gus is his partner for garbage collecting. Angeline and Gary call Miss Turbone, Mr. Bone because they both sound exactly the same. She is Gary’s former fifth grade teacher. Angeline Persopolis is only eight but is studying astrophysics and nuclear chemistry at a special school for privledged children in Nebraska. Freak of nature you may say. She’s the only one that thinks Gary is really, really funny. He is only able to see her on the weekend.

 Gary finds out that the school is holding a talent show and the winner gets $100. Brenda Thompson (really popular) thought of it for her own selfish reason so she can sing. Gary thought of doing stand-up comedy and thinks this is his chance to shine. Angeline tells him to tell the school Ms. Snitzberry jokes because they are the funniest, but he disagrees because the audience are more likely to laugh if your jokes are personally; nobody knows Ms. Snitzberry. Everyday after school, Gary comes up with a ton of jokes to prepare for the talent show. He must put in one-hundred percent! His parents don’t like the idea of him spending so much time telling jokes than he does with school work, so they offer him $100 for not telling a joke until the talent show. They believe that he tells jokes to hide from reality. Gary makes a deal (with cards).

 Gary starts acting like a normal kid. Michael Higgins and his twin brother Steve, and Ira collect baseball cards and he listens in on their conversation without acting like a weirdo. He can never tell Michael and Steven apart. The three of them tell him he should collect baseball cards like them. He’s making friends already. The most popular guy, Joe, even allows him to catch a pass in football.

 What he doesn’t know is that the cool kids are going to humiliate him at the talent quest. Joe, the popular guy, believes they should just let ‘Goon’ do what he likes and leave him alone. He tries multiple times to warn Gary and tell him to ‘not take it so seriously’. Now Gary does his homework, play football, and do other normal things. When he tries to think up jokes, he realises that none of them are funny enough to make Joe laugh. Gary kind of falls in love with Joe, since everything must please Joe and how wonderful it would be to become Joe.

 Since his jokes suck, Gary quits the talent show. He comes schizophrenic because Ms. Snizberry apears in his bedroom and tells him he shouldn’t have quit. She didn’t allow him to make fun of her just so he can quit. Gary does what she says and picks out the funny jokes he created and put them all together in time for the talent quest. Angeline calls and tells him to quit because she has a bad feeling that something bad is going to happen. I prayed that he would listen to her. He didn’t because if it’s a disaster, let it be a disaster.

 At the talent quest, Gary goes last. He doesn’t have a choice. He is so nervous he pees in his pants. He starts off terrible because he jumbles everything up and doesn’t follow his order. Then the popular kids humuliate him, but he uses it to his advantage and gains some laughs. Gary turns out to be a huge hit and wins the $100. He borrowed a bald head from Gus to pretend he has a bald head. Louis Sachar didn’t say this, but it’s obvious that it came from Gus if you read the book. The popular kids accept him, hell, everyone accepts him. I think Joe turns out to be a not-so-great guy because he doesn’t congratulate Gary at all. He might have been jealous.

 In the end, Gary goes back to his seat on stage to collect his props but becomes tired. Then he cries for fifteen minutes. That’s how it ends! No explanation. I would like to know why he just burst out crying!

 Some reasons why he cried:

1. He is overwhelmed with the attention and how everyone accepts him and doesn’t think he’s a loser anymore.

2. He never use to cry, he always laughs. The tears he never released was too full and had to burst.

3. He is actually upset about how the popular boys made fun of him on stage, even though he told them that he thought it was hilarious.

4. Don’t know any others. Do you?

 Great book. Enjoyed it! I guess it didn’t take long at all since the font is pretty big. It didn’t gain the same success as Holes did. The first edition was published in 1991. I have the 2002 edition, different to the cover above. The cover is bright orange with a dog and a microphone.

8/10

 If you know reasons why he cried, please tell me. I wish I knew the actual reason. It’s really bugging me.