Friday, February 01, 2008

The Light in the Cellar by Sarah Master Buckey

"All right," said Molly. "And I don't mind spiders that much. So, if it's spiders, I'll go in first, and if it's mice, you can go in first."

Molly McIntire speaks to her new friend Emily, an English girl sent from London to the United States for safety during World War II. While her Aunt Prim is in the hospital, Emily is staying with the McIntire family. The girls pause before they enter an old, dusty garage in search of a key that will let them into Greystone Manor, a frightening old mansion up on the highest hill in Jefferson. You'd pause, too, if you had heard all the rumors of ghosts in the old house.

The book I just finished is The Light in the Cellar by Sarah Master Buckey. While this title in the American Girl Molly Mystery series is aimed at the nine year old reader, I enjoyed it, as it reminded me of the years that I spent reading to my daughter Laura before and after she learned to read. We went through our box set of six Molly books by Valerie Tripp several times, revisiting the spunky girl's adventures with her friends and her exasperation with her brother Ricky.

This recent book has just about everything a classic Nancy Drew book had, without the old racial stereotypes that used to pop up. Molly notices her mother's upset when sugar is missing from the Red Cross center and starts her own investigation. Her friends are reluctantly brought into the effort. She sees mysterious lights, gets locked in a pantry, and wanders through an dark, old mansion. It is pretty classic girl series book fun.

I like how the American Girl books always have a little history mixed in. In The Light in the Cellar, the community is sponsoring a canteen at a local train station where service stop before being shipped to the war. With rationing, it is pretty serious when most of the sugar is missing.

This book has a recipe for wacky cake inside the back cover. If no one has stolen your sugar, you can bake one yourself. It would be nice to have after reading a good book.

Buckey, Sarah Master. The Light in the Cellar. American Girl, 2007. ISBN 9781593691585

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