It’s summer, and the three Barker brothers - Simon, Henry, and Jack - have just moved from Illinois to Arizona. Their parents have warned them repeatedly not to explore Superstition Mountain, which is near their home. But when their cat Josie goes missing, they see no other choice. There’s something unusually creepy about the mountain, and after the boys find three human skulls, they grow determined to uncover the mystery.
Have people really gone missing over the years, and could there be someone - or something - lurking in the woods? The Barker boys are dead-set on cracking the case, even if it means putting themselves in harm’s way. Here’s the first book in an action-packed mystery series by a New York Times best-selling author.
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Could Have Really Happened, But Dissatisfying End
The story is based on a real mountain (range) in Arizona, and actual historical records of
persons lost or dead thereon. That part of the telling is well woven adding a lot of interest.
I'm an adult who loves kids books, but the kind where the youngsters use their wits and talents to go forth and solve mysteries, working in partnership and support from related adults, as in Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. "Missing On Superstition Mountain" offers three brothers, each unique and very likable: Jack, the 6 year old is very outspoken,
always lets you know what he is feeling, will punch you if you are rude or unkindly critical, and speaks in a boisterous tone, the volume of which it seems he can never lower, even in a library; Henry, The Middle Child, 10, is smarter and braver than he thinks, but is often more cautious than confident because he always observes the perks and rewards of the elder and younger siblings, never really getting the feedback needed to mirror his good qualities. In a way, this is really his story. The eldest is Simon; smart, observant, already in touch with his own way of getting through life, and understands and can evaluate actions and consequences, knowing just how far to push their work-at-home mom. What I really don't like is the "normal" way they interact with their parents who don't really observe them, or listen,who are usually in reaction, either cajoling, demanding, threatening, punishing (though not too severely), making unreal compliments or restrictions, failing to see them for what they are. A little fear is normal for parents, but is very tiring all of the time.
They all have just moved from Chicago, Illinois to the hot, dry desert small town of Arizona, and the only item that looms as interesting is, of course, the beguiling mountain. The excuse that opens the story to explore it, is a natural one: their cat, Josie, has high-tailed it up there. They have to go rescue her!!! I did love their adventure getting up there and once there, what they found! The interest of the ensuing story is how they manage to manipulate their parents in order to go back up, having first gotten as much history and background of the place to be unavoidably curious, observed a few denizens who, it seems really want some secrets kept, made some valuable friends, and in a way, get help from their cat.
If this story had been the first in a continuing series, it would have been okay with me, but
there is no foreshadowing for a less than happy or satisfying ending. They do make it there again, Henry making a remarkable discovery on his own, trying to help their friend who had accompanied them, but got hurt in the climbing. It ends with Henry and the friend, Delilah, being rescued; the denouement simply being that they are determined to return somehow to obtain the discovery. Pooh. Could have been handled better for a single story!
- Lanna S. Seuret