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Siamon, Sharon.

Grades 4 to 8
Reviewed by Patricia Fry

Volume 16 Number 1
1988 January

Here's a lively mystery that will he enjoyed by many young readers. The scene is set when Abby, age twelve, and her eight-year-old brother, Mike, return to "Sunset Mouse," an abandoned house which the children discovered the previous summer and their parents purchased during the year.

The first puzzle to face the family is the unexplained fire that has gutted the back part of the house. And who left the blankets and comic book in an upstairs bedroom? Then there is the unusual carpenter who agrees to help them rebuild the house and the even more unusual appearance and disappearance of a prized antique canoe.

Before the story ends, all the loose threads have been neatly woven into a whole and the characters of Sunset House face a rosy future. For the young reader, this perhaps too-tidy ending will be very satisfying. The frequent black-and-white full-page and half-page illustrations make the children's adventures come alive and therefore lure the readers deeper into the story.

The Secret of Sunset House is a good mystery to add to a collection, because it does what many books for pre-teen readers do not do: it provides an exciting story without moralizing and without delving into the painful issues of divorce and death. Mike and Abby are just nice kids who explore their new territory with their rambunctious dog, Sandor, romping alongside. In so doing, they rebuild what becomes a permanent home, give a helping hand to an orphaned boy, and casually go about family living in a small community setting.

Patricia Fry, Toronto, Ont.
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