When Dave met an Iowa farmer who had named his Blue Heeler Hank, he assumed their family, like ours, were fans of the Hank, The Cowdog series by John R. Erickson. He was surprised when the farmer had not heard of the books, so the next day, Dave dropped off a volume from our son's collection. What he got in return was an even bigger surprise.
The farmer's wife turned out to be Shari Barr, one of the authors of the Camp Club Girls series. The series of twenty-four mysteries for middle-grade readers features six girls from all across the U.S., who meet at summer camp. After the introductory story, Mystery at Discovery Lake, each book features one of the six girls and each character has her own author. Mrs. Barr wrote the the four volumes focusing on 13-year-old McKenzie, and she presented Dave with a signed copy of McKenzie's Montana Mystery.
I started reading about McKenzie last night and, even though it's been a fair number of years since I was in the "middle grades" - or any grades - I was hooked. I read as long as I could keep my eyes open, and finished the last few chapters this morning. I felt like a kid again. Honestly, it's been awhile since I read any mystery that I had that much trouble putting down.
The story revolves around a champion rodeo horse stolen from Sunshine Stables. McKenzie and her friend, Bailey, start their own investigation when the adults draw a blank. Even though that seems a little far-fetched at first, the story is so well written and the clues so well placed, that I soon forgot the sleuths were children and was creating my own scenario for "who-dun-it". I got a kick out of the girls' use of technology, such as cell-phone cameras and on-line chats, in their investigation, and wondered if Mrs. Barr had to recruit a few "tweens" to help her with the chat-room slang. I certainly had to stop and think a few times to figure out what the abbreviations meant. (There is a handy "cheat sheet" included in the book if you can't work them out.)
The Camp Club Girls is a Christian series, published by Barbour Publishing. The girls frequently pray about their situation or recall scripture they have learned to give them guidance. The books in this series would make great gifts for young ladies who are already familiar with the Bible, but also for girls who haven't had that opportunity - a fun, low-key way to introduce them.
Thank you, again, to Mrs. Barr for sharing her book. Our copy will be shared with a couple of our nieces, who happen to be just the right age to enjoy McKenzie's adventures.