Sunday, April 22, 2018


~ Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday
Retro Fiction Feature ~

ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:
Trixie’s summer is going to be sooo boring with her two older brothers away at camp. But then a millionaire’s daughter moves into the next-door mansion, an old miser hides a fortune in his decrepit house, and a runaway kid starts hiding out in Sleepyside!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR {from Goodreads}:

Julie Campbell was born on the 1st of June 1908 in Flushing, New York and shares the same birthday as her character, Mart Belden. As the daughter of an Army Officer, she travelled widely during her childhood and, at the age of eight, won her first short story contest while living in Hawaii.
Campbell married Charles Tatham Jr. on the 30th March 1933 and they worked together on many magazine stories and articles. Campbell lived in a remodelled farmhouse in the Hudson River Valley with her husband and two sons when she began writing the Trixie Belden series.

She had her own literary agency in the 1940s when Western Publishing invited literary agents to find authors who could produce mystery and adventure books that would be marketed to children at an affordable price. Campbell proposed four series, two that would be written by herself and the others by two of her authors Hal Burton and John Henry Cutler.

Both series were published under her maiden name, Julie Campbell. The Ginny Gordon series consisted of five books published between 1948 and 1956, while her contribution to the Trixie Belden series consisted of six books between 1948 and 1958. At the same time, Campbell stepped in to take over the Cherry Ames and Vicki Barr series and wrote twelve books in total for these series over the same time period. It is believed that Campbell wrote Cherry Ames, Cruise Nurse in three weeks during the same period she was also writing the first Trixie Belden and Ginny Gordon books.

Campbell wrote the series under her married name of Julie Tatham. There are several similarities to the Trixie Belden series. Cherry Ames: Dude Ranch Nurse is set in Tucson, Arizona which is the setting of Campbell's last Trixie Belden Mystery. The last Cherry Ames book Campbell wrote in 1955, Cherry Ames: Country Doctor's Nurse, is set in Sleepyside-on-the-Hudson, the setting of the Trixie Belden mysteries. So is a wonderful book called To Nick from Jan, which has many similarities to Trixie Belden except the main character is almost 17 years old.

She is also credited for writing "Rin Tin Tin's Rinty" for Whitman in 1954, but in an article Campbell denied having written that book and wonders why Whitman credited her with the title.

The Trixie Belden series was set in "Sleepyside" but was based on the town Campbell was living in at the time in the Hudson River Valley near Ossining. Her home, "Wolf Hollow", was the model for Crabapple Farm and Campbell actually lived on Glendale Road.

After completing Trixie Belden and the Mystery in Arizona, Campbell decided to stop. Her experience as a literary agent assisted her in negotiating a royalty on the next six books of the series as she owned the characters, but it meant her giving up the originator rights to this series. Western Publishing decided to continue the books under the pseudonym Kathryn Kenny. Campbell also relinquished the Cherry Ames and Vicki Barr series when Helen Wells decided to return to writing them. The Ginny Gordon series was not continued.

There is evidence that Campbell sought a writing position with the Stratemeyer Syndicate in 1957. Timothy P. O'Herin spent an afternoon going through the Stratemeyer archives and found correspondence between Campbell and Harriet Adams, the daughter of Edward Stratemeyer.

"The letters occurred around 1957 and they consisted of Ms. Tatham seeking a writing position with the syndicate. Mrs. Adams responded with glowing praise for her work, but questioning whether Julie would want to relocate for the job. Julie indicated she would be willing to commute. There were only a few letters in this brief correspondence..."

I read some of the Trixie Belden books when I was in elementary school and just loved them! An older cousin of mine gave me a well-worn copy of 'Trixie Belden and the Gatehouse Mystery' when I was probably around ten years old. I read and reread that book until the binding literally broke and the pages began to fall out.

Our local public library purchased the first three books in this series last year, so I wanted to give them a try as an adult reader. I wasn't disappointed.
This book was originally published in 1948 and was rereleased in this format in 2003. This installment is the first book in the series and introduces the setting, core characters, and Trixie's adventurous personality well. 

The adventures she and her new next-door neighbor, Honey, enjoy are fast-paced, fun, and a little dangerous at some points. Trixie is strong-willed and high-spirited to be certain, but I did not feel she was a poor role model for young readers. Instead, I felt as if her spunk and sense of fun would encourage youngsters to play outside and make their own fun as we used to say.

***NOTE:  Since this book was written seventy years ago, please be aware that some vocabulary usage and socially-accepted behavior and parenting techniques documented in the text are very different than those accepted and practiced in the twenty-first century.

The educator in me liked the way the author teaches first aid and fire safety and such life skill techniques throughout the plot. This is a fun adventure that leaves the reader wanting to read more of Trixie's and Honey's pursuits.
I borrowed this book from our local public library.

 ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
-- Friday, April 27th: Revell Reads Blog Tour. Book spotlight and review of award-winning author Irene Hannon's latest inspirational romance, 'Pelican Point'
-- Wednesday, May 2nd: Book spotlight, snippet, artwork feature, and giveaway for a new children's activity book from Cedar Fort, Inc., 'Wizard's Workshop'. Event hosted by Singing Librarian Books.

-- Friday, May 4th: Book Blast with $50 giveaway for a new clean romance, 'Scarlet'. Event hosted by I Am A Reader.

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  1. I faintly remember these books. I was too deep into into Hardy Boys to really notice. I'm glad they are still around for young readers to check out.

    1. Hello, Greg ~ I recently read my first Hardy Boys book and really enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Best, June

  2. This sounds like a fun series that I would have liked as a kid if I'd known about it. And Julie certainly had an interesting life.

    1. Hi, Natalie ~ I was amazed at the author's wide range of publishing activities and the various series she penned, too. I appreciate your posting your thoughts here. Sincerely, June

  3. What a wonderful trip back in time these must be. I've never read them, but it would be fun to. Thanks for the retro review. It was great.

    1. Welcome ~ I'm so glad you enjoyed my retro review. I hope you get a chance to read one of Trixie's and Honey's adventures soon. Thanks, June

  4. I still love these books. And Gatehouse is one of my favorites, too. This book packs a lot into the story, introducing characters and a fast paced plot.

    So glad to see Trixie getting some love.

    1. Hey there, Mark ~ It's great to hear from another Trixie Belden fan! Thanks for stopping by my blog to post your enthusiastic thoughts. Take care, June

  5. I vaguely remember this series. I may have read a book. It sounds like a fun series.

    1. Hello, Patricia ~ I honestly don't know if I would have found Trixie back in my middle-grade years if my cousin hadn't gifted me with her old copy as mentioned in my review. Hope you get a chance to read this one in the future. Best, June

  6. I consumed Trixie Belden books as a kid, though I confess that they all kind of blend together in my mind now, with only the first standing out individually. Thanks for featuring this! I also love the idea of a retro fiction feature, and may steal it!

    1. Hi, Suzanne ~ You're so welcome. I'm honored that you like my retro fiction feature idea so much you want to use it too! Can't wait to read what retro fiction you share with us on a MMGM. Regards, June

  7. How fun. I haven't thought about Trixie Belden in years. I liked them as a kid. I haven't revisited them as an adult. Thanks for all the interesting history too.

    1. Hello, Rosi ~ I can't believe the positive response I've had to this post! So many Trixie Belden fans have contacted me. I thought the author's bio from Goodreads was interesting, too. Thanks, June

  8. Oh, WOW! I loved Trixie Belden as a kid. I really enjoyed the Cherry Ames books, too.
    I read Trixie books six or seven times each!
    Thank you for the fascinating information about Julie Campbell, too!

    1. Welcome, Robbye ~ I'm so glad you stopped by to visit with Trixie. I will have to find a Cherry Ames book as I've not read them before. Please visit 'Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic' again soon. Best, June


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