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THE LEGEND OF WILLOW SPRINGS FARM

Author: Jan E. Culbertson

Illustrator: Cris Ramirez

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Publisher: AuthorHouse, ©2005

Material: paperback

Summary: Bianca (9) and her sister Alyssa (5), live with their parents in San Marcos, California. Just as school was ending for summer, the girls learned they would be visiting their grandmother on her farm in Missouri. The girls were excited,but a little nervous. This would be their first time traveling without their parents, AND they had never been on a plane before. They had not seen Grandma in more than two years and had never been to Willow Springs Farm. Grandma had planned a weekful of wonderful activities for them to enjoy, but Bianca and Alyssa wanted to hunt for the treasure supposedly buried on the farm. The girls found clues that pointed to the existence of the treasure but they also found out that someone else was searching too, someone who would stop at nothing to locate it. Will they find the treasure and more importantly, will they live to tell about it? This is an adventure mystery that takes place at Grandma's house.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, advanced reader

Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 10 to 12

Interest Level: 8 to 13

Reading Level: 4.5

Age of Child: Reviewed by a student at North Junior High School, St. Cloud, MN, as part of the Use Your ABCs program.

Young Reader Reaction: I picked this book becaue my other friend didn't want to read it and it had to be read. After the first chapter I wanted to be done with reading this book. I didn't like this book. It was very annoying to read because it kept saying "Alyssa said" or "Bianca said." I learned to keep searching till you find what you need and don't give up.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is a wholesome preteen mystery, and the author’s first book in a series of titles about summer vacation adventures for Bianca and Alyssa. Each title is self-contained, and reading this first book after the others was not a problem. These are fun reads and re-reads for the audience at which the books are targeted.

Pros: This is a mystery/adventure story, whose characters are engaging and believable. Altthough the plot is a familiar one - searching for buried treasure - the author keeps the reader engaged and turning the pages.
Student review: It was a good story idea.

Cons: None.
Student review: The book was annoying and long.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a book that will likely be read more than once. Although boys may enjoy the buried treasure element of the book, it will resonate most strongly with adolescent girls.

If You Liked This Book, Try: THE LEGEND OF DUNSMOOR MANOR   SCRAMBLED (A SAM & STEPHANIE MYSTERY)   MIA THE MEEK: THE MIA FULLERTON SERIES

Educational Themes: There are no outstanding educational themes to be drawn from the book. This is a good wholesome story that young teens will enjoy reading … a couple of times or more.

Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 4.5. The author donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub, Inc. This is an unsolicited donation.

Literary Categories: Fiction - adventure, series book, young adult

Date(s) Reviewed: October 2007, November 2009

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