Field Trip Mystery
When the fifth graders of Liberty Falls Elementary School take there annual trip to Mink's Mystery Mansion, the children who go have their own agendas in mind. Aaron has just changed schools again, and hopes to be able to make new friends. With his father in the military, he should be used to change, but it's still hard. Eddie is related to the inventor, Edward Minks, but his family is struggling financially, since Minks gave away all of his money for the greater good. Eddie has blueprints of the mansion and hopes to find a secret room with a book detailing all of his ancestor's undiscovered inventions. Jessie also hopes to make friends, and finds a kindred spirit in Anna, who has brought her rabbit Mopey along in her backpack. Chloe hopes to continue in the good graces of the popular Sophie, but starts to realize how mean and selfish her supposed friend is. When a horrible snowstorm strands the school at the mansion, the children try to investigate and find the inventions-- some so they can earn money, and some so they don't have to write an assigned paper on their field trip.
I really like Woodrow's work, especially Pet Wars, and there are not enough books about field trips. Not that my students ever take them, thanks to budget cuts, but they are always fun both to go on and to read about. This is a bit different from Woodrow's other school stories in that it has a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Mr. Lemoncello's Library vibe to it, with funny inventions, odd occurrences, and a mystery to be solved. The relationships between students evolve in realistic ways. The cover is fantastic. More books should have Slinkies on the cover!
Readers who enjoy lightly humorous, realistic fiction should definitely add this author to their list of books to explore.