Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Our Soggy Camping Trip and 2014 Summer Reading Assignment #2: Ginnie and the Mystery Doll by Catherine Woolley

    Well, we're back from our mini vacation. We got the van fixed just in time to have a couple of days before Ivy goes back to school in about a week.Unfortunately, it rained...sorry: POURED...most of the time we were there. Ken looks forward to cooking out more than just about anything else, so he was literally not a 'happy camper'. Here's what the view looked like from inside our snugly warm camper van: (Just a bit too warm for Ken. But then, everything is.)

The view out of the back door. I got yelled at: Close the door you're getting the bed wet!

 It had rained the night we got there, and the next day Ken spent ages drying out the wood by burning lighter fuel on it. (I'm not sure that works, but that's his idea.) He finally got it fairly dry and thought it would light and make a fire big enough to cook on. And then it REALLY began to rain.

Just to let you see just how submerged it became:



 He did finally get to cook out though. To prove it he had to take a picture of his fire.

We went through a small town we've stopped at a few times, but I never noticed this before:
Oh. A park. Nothing out of the ordinary there. But here's the whole picture...

 Nothing out of the ordinary there,and no park there either! That's the whole park?! But it wasn't...there is a picnic bench behind that tree.A fun day out for the whole family at the Paul and Ruth Bird Memorial Park.

It's nice to travel, and nice to spend concentrated time with Ken and Ivy, but I'll be glad to sleep in my own bed. The bed in the camper is not the most comfortable thing in the world by any stretch of the imagination. I'll be back to Doll-A-Day tomorrow with a review. But for today I'm going to share another book for you to enjoy with your kids.
   This summer's theme seems to be doll books, (That's fitting for a doll collecting blog anyway, right?) For our second 'summer reading assignment' of this year I'm suggesting "Ginnie and the Mystery Doll" by Catherine Woolley.
She's not holding a ball of light. I couldn't stop the glare from the flash.
  This is another of the books I read as a kid that I checked out more than once from the school library. I never managed to get a copy as a kid though, and when I found this one at the library book sale here in town  I jumped on it so I could read it to the kids. (Ok, and so I could read it again myself!) It's a Scholastic paperback just like the one I got from the school library.

  The book is set in the summer, of course, and Ginnie and her best friend Geneva, and both their families, have rented a house on Cape Cod for the summer. The book was written in 1960, which accounts for how an average family, (or even a couple of them),could afford to rent a house on Cape Cod for a whole summer!Ginnie and Geneva are looking forward to swimming and having fun, but when they go next door to meet their summer neighbor they become involved in a mystery. The neighbor, Miss Wade, lets the girls play dress up in her attic on a rainy day and the girls discover an old diary. The diary belonged to Miss Wade's mother when she was a child, and mentions Lady Vanderbilt,a beautiful doll brought to the little girl from Paris by a sea captain uncle, and the 'valuable jewel' she wore.

The illustrations are nothing to write home about though.
 Miss Wade explains that the doll disappeared one summer when she rented the house to a family from California. The girls despair over the long lost doll. One day, at an auction in the village the girls find what they are sure is the missing Lady Vanderbilt, but they haven't enough money to win her, and the doll disappears once again, in the red sports car of her new owner.
  The girls try to track Lady Vanderbilt down, while also enjoying Cape Cod. I always loved the descriptions of the beach, and the girl's experiences picking 'beach plums' to make jelly, and digging for clams. My kids always tease me that so many of my favourite books from my childhood involve somebody needing to save a house. In this book the house doesn't quite need saved, but Miss Wade needs to make some house repairs she just doesn't have the money for, and the return of Lady Vanderbilt and her 'valuable jewel' are just what she needs.


  The book is full of near misses and mystery. (Just where has Lady V been all these years, and where did she come from all of a sudden?) The descriptions of the girls' summer make you smell the sea air and feel the sand beneath your feet.This is the book that made me want to spend a summer in a cottage on Cape Cod, and I still want to do that someday!
  Catherine Woolley wrote 87 books, including a whole series of Ginnie Fellows books, (not all of which were mysteries.). In fact, she wrote so many books that her publisher suggested she use a pen name for some of them. She used her grandmother's name,Jane Thayer, on her books for younger children. She wrote well into her 90's. She died in 2005, at the age of 100.
  The age recommendation for the Ginnie books is 7 to 12+, but judge for yourself if your slightly younger child would be interested. There are  a few copies of Ginnie and the Mystery Doll on Ebay right now and the prices vary greatly. It still seems the book can be had for only $5 though, which is pretty good.The Ginnie books are available in a 10 book set that includes: Ginnie and Geneva; Ginnie Joins In; Ginnie and the New Girl; Ginnie and the Mystery House; Ginnie and the Mystery Doll; Ginnie and Her Juniors; Ginnie and the Cooking Contest; Ginnie and the Wedding Bells; Ginnie and the Mystery Cat; Ginnie and the Mystery Light.You could check Amazon.I'm not sure if it's currently in print, but you could check an actual book store. They're always happy to order books for you.

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