Sunday, April 26, 2020


{Original Bobbsey Twins #64}  --



"I hope I never meet the monster!" says Flossie Bobbsey as weird howls come from a crack in a hillside on the farm of the twins' friends in Virginia. 

The Young detectives not only meet the howler, but catch a thief and discover a special treasure—one of our nation's very first flags. It had been hidden during the Revolution by the young girl who made it. What fun the Bobbsey's have in this All-American adventure! They not only solve the mysteries but learn about the early days of our country by visiting the quaint shops and streets of Colonial Williamsburg.

Laura Lee Hope is a pseudonym used by the Stratemeyer Syndicate for the Bobbsey Twins and several other series of children's novels. Actual writers taking up the pen of Laura Lee Hope include Edward Stratemeyer, Howard and Lilian Garis, Elizabeth Ward, Harriet (Stratemeyer) Adams, Andrew E. Svenson, June M. Dunn, Grace Grote and Nancy Axelrad.

Laura Lee Hope was first used in 1904 for the debut of the Bobbsey Twins, the principal characters of what was, for many years, the Stratemeyer Syndicate's longest-running series of children's novels. Other series written under this pseudonym include: The Outdoor Girls (23 vols. 1913-1933), The Moving Picture Girls (7 vols. 1914-1916), Bunny Brown (20 vols. 1916-1931), Six Little Bunkers (14 vols. 1918-1930), Make Believe Stories (12 vols. c. 1920-1923), and Blythe Girls (12 vols. 1925-1932).

The first of the 72 books of the Bobbsey Twins series was published in 1904, the last in 1979. The books related the adventures of the children of the middle-class Bobbsey family, which included two sets of mixed-gender fraternal twins: Bert and Nan, who were 12 years old, and Flossie and Freddie, who were six.

Edward Stratemeyer himself is believed to have written the first volume in its original form in 1904. When the original series was brought to its conclusion in 1979, it had reached a total of 72 volumes. At least two abortive attempts to restart the series were launched after this, but in neither effort was the popularity of the original series achieved.

Speculation that Stratemeyer also wrote the second and third volumes of the series is believed to be incorrect; these books are now attributed to Lilian Garis, wife of Howard Garis, who is credited with volumes 4–28 and 41. Elizabeth Ward is credited with volumes 29–35, while Harriet Stratemeyer Adams is credited with 36–38, 39 (with Camilla McClave), 40, 42, 43 (with Andrew Svenson), and 44–48. Volumes 49–52 are attributed to Andrew Svenson, while 53–59, and the 1960s rewrites of 1–4, 7, 11–13, and 17, are attributed to June Dunn. Grace Grote is regarded as the real author of 60–67 and the rewrites of 14 and 18–20, and Nancy Axelrad is credited with 68–72. Of the 1960s rewrites not already mentioned, volumes 5 and 16 are credited to Mary Donahoe, 6 and 25 to Patricia Doll, 8–10 and 15 to Bonnibel Weston, and 24 to Margery Howard.

I used to read a lot of these Bobbsey Twins mysteries when I was in grade school. I loved the adventure and mystery included in each book. This book was published in 1971, so it was a new read for me.

Before the shelter-in-place order which shut everything down where I live, I visited our library's 'Friends of the Library' book store one Saturday. As I approached the doorway to the store, I noticed a book cart placed next to the entrance with the short endof the cart facing me. There was a sign taped to the cart which read, 'Old Friends', with an arrow ---➤ pointing to the right top shelf of the cart. 

My heart jumped for joy because my first thought was, 'There might be some old children's books on that shelf!'  {Now I know you'll understand this emotion because you wouldn't be reading this post if you didn't have an affection for children's books!  🀣 }

Sure enough, once I got over to the shelf, I saw several copies of hardcover Bobbsey Twins mysteries, Trixie Belden mysteries, and a Five Little Peppers book. I quickly looked through each book, prepared to buy whichever ones were in good condition. Unfortunately, the Trixie Belden books had broken bindings and were completely falling apart. A good sign that they had been well-read and well-loved during their lifetimes! A few of the Bobbsey Twins books had mildew and severe water damage. They went right back on the shelf. Two of the Bobbsey Twins books and the Five Little Peppers book were in excellent condition for being almost 50 or more than 50 years old! I just love when that happens!

The books were marked $1 each, can you believe it? I purchased them, and the lady who helped me told me she loved the Bobbsey Twins books when she was a girl. She shared that she had given her set of books to her own daughter who was now sharing them with her children -- the bookstore lady's grandchildren. I just love it when that happens, too!

Now, about the story . . . I read the other Bobbsey Twins book I purchased first. I'm not reviewing it here because honestly, it contained a lot of stereotypical language and offensive attitudes toward indigenous peoples and I didn't care for it because it was disrespectful and unkind. It would not be well-received in today's world. I was hoping that this Red, White & Blue Mystery would be more entertaining and less offensive. Good news -- it possessed both of these qualities.

The Red, White & Blue Mystery was well-written, fast-paced, educational, and filled with good old-fashioned fun! The style of parenting practiced by parents back in this time period, mid-twentieth century, was quite different than what I have observed in our world today. The children were expected to entertain themselves and follow the rules they had been taught at home. If they got into a scrape, the parents stepped in to remind them of their standards for the children's behavior. Children learned a lot through exploring the world on their own it appears in this book.

This adventure involves the Bobbsey Twins, 12-year-old Bert and Nan and 6-year-old Flossie and Freddie, going on a summer trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, with their father. Mother Bobbsey stayed at home to organize the local Garden Show for the first part of the vacation.

In Williamsburg, the Bobbseys spent a lot of time with their family friends, the Culvers. The Culvers's children were Jay and Sally Ann who were twelve and eleven years old, respectively. Mr. Culver is an archaeologist who taught the children how to organize and carry out an archaeological dig on his family's historic property.

Throughout the story the children learn a lot about the American Revolution, life in Williamsburg, and Colonial history. These parts of the book were very well done, I thought. The children were immersed in living history at every turn. 

The Bobbseys and the Culvers worked on solving a mystery involving a thief named 'Long Arms' who boldly takes historic items from the people and shops in and around Williamsburg.

There is a good bit of humor in the story because the younger Bobbseys are only six-years-old, and lots of things have to be explained to them. This involves a lot of idioms and puns, which I expect middle-grade readers will enjoy as much as I did.

The back matter in the book is impressive. The Pledge of Allegiance is printed in the first section and several facts are presented about the history of the Pledge. Next comes a section entitled, 'Some Rules for Displaying the Flag', which I found interesting since some of the rules were ones I had not yet learned about. 

Highly-recommended! I think this book would be a great family, classroom, youth/Scout camp/church group read-aloud. The story's lively pace will inspire children to ask, "Oh, can't you read just one more chapter?" Since it is set during the week leading up to the Fourth of July, it is a perfect summer read. Enjoy!

Find the links to read more great Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts from middle-grade authors and bloggers at Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' Blog.




  1. A lot of these older titles are available at Project Gutenberg if you get desperate for things to read!

  2. I'm glad you came across this classic series. I had no idea so many were written. The one you chose would be a perfect for a read aloud. Thanks for sharing on MMGM.

  3. Glad you found a book in the series that you still enjoy. Right before the library closed I got out a later Nancy Drew 3-book collection and just read it last week. It was pretty good too. I read more of them than the Bobbsey Twins.

  4. It's fascinating how there were so many book series several decades ago that had dozens of books in them! This book sounds like a neat book with an interesting historical background! Also, congrats on getting it for only $1—I remember that several years ago, I bought a yellowed copy of Coraline whose binding was falling apart for just $1, and that's the copy I still have today! Thanks for the great and informative review!

  5. I adored the Bobbsey Twin series as a child of the late 50s and the first four were my favorite. I also read Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys mysteries. Boy, that was a lot of work naming all of the authors who penned the books over the years. Fascinating post today!

  6. I haven't read the Bobbsey Twins, but this sounds really good! I got to go to Williamsburg as a kid and really enjoyed it, so I'd love to relive it. It was very fortunate that you found this just before libraries closed!

  7. I never read the Bobbsey books. I was a big fan of Nancy Drew though, another series with ghost writers. Thanks for telling me about this one. Maybe I will check it out one day.