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Summary: When Uncle Rick tells Luke that there are new tenants in the Lennox cottage, he hopes its a boy. Trevor hasn't been much of a friend lately. Kate Evans is no boy, but she likes being in the woods, just like Luke. As they find and re-open a series of fairy and gnome houses, someone is sabotaging the property. When Luke and Kate discover Mrs. Lennox might sell it, they realize time is running out on solving their mystery: who made these houses? and who lives here? This is a lightly illustrated chapter book about friendship, set in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 9 and Up
Interest Level: 8 to 11
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: Those of us old enough to remember Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys will recognize that 'feel' in this story. It is wholesome, not too deep, but with distinct characters and a plot that moves along. The illustrations are well placed, but the story is worthy of stronger imagery with a little more "mystery" to them (e.g., elements that help the reader, but only if you spend time looking at them. The illustrations from the picture book in this series are much stronger.
Pros: A wholesome, not-so-predictable story perfect for newly independent mystery lovers.
Educational Themes: This is a story for fun reading. It could be the spark to head out to the backyard or local park to find materials and build fairy houses of your own. For readers "too embarrassed" to build real houses, let them design a fairy house. The book opens with a map; this is another activity for kids - have them draw a map with places important to them. Trevor is a secondary character. He is not fully developed, but he is involved enough that you can use him as a way to open a discussion about divorce and dealing with change.
Notes: The author donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - mystery, friendship, series
Date(s) Reviewed: December 2015
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com, and feedback at barnesandnoble.com.