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Maureen the Detective by Veda Boyd Jones

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Cover art: Maureen the Detective
Reviewer: Danielle Mason
Title: Maureen the Detective: The Age of Immigration - Sisters in Time
Author: Veda Boyd Jones
Publisher: Barbour
ISBN-13: 978-1-59310-661-4
Release Date: February 2005
Genre/Sub-genre: Youth Inspirational Historical Fiction
Publisherís Age/Grade Recommendation: Ages 8-12
OUARís Age/Grade Recommendation: Ages 8-15
Year/Setting: 1903
Overall Rating: 4.0
Veda's Website/Blog: www.vedaboydjones.com


In this story you are transported to 1903, the time of immigration and into the life of Maureen Stevenson. Maureen is an Irish immigrant who has lost both of her parents and is trying to adjust to her change of status from servant child to child of a banker. When she lost her Mama, the wonderful family they lived and worked for adopted Maureen and itís with her new family and her new cousin Mark that she sets out on an adventure.

The adventure begins when Mark and Maureen are walking down by the creek that runs through their neighborhood and they find a purse. On investigation of the purse they find out it belongs to Mrs. Hoag, the eccentric older woman of the neighborhood. What makes her eccentric is the fact that she hasn't left her house in the 5 years since her husband's death. Not sure of how they feel about it Maureen and Mark take Mrs. Hoag her purse back where they get a very pleasant surprise.

When Mrs. Hoag answers the door they did not expect to see the woman that they did. She didn't seem crazy at all, as most of the other kids and some adults had come to believe. In fact, she invites them in and talks with them for a while. Before Mark and Maureen leave they are told to come back on Monday for a reward for finding her purse. When they return they are each given ten dollars and offered a job. The job would be to help Mrs. Hoag catalog all of the valuables in her house for insurance purposes. After asking their Mother and Father's permission, Maureen and Mark are set to begin the second part of their adventure.

After working in the Western Room of Mrs. Hoag's house, Maureen notices that one of the statues she took a picture of to show her father is missing. It's after they all go through the list of things in the room that they realize the statue isn't the only thing missing. A few paintings had been taken and replaced. Then Mark makes a shocking discovery. Now all they need to do is get the police to believe them and catch whoever is terrorizing the poor woman and stealing the things that are so near and dear to her.

While all of this is happening Maureen is also trying to become a citizen of the Unites States, which was much easier to do back then. Becoming a citizen is a dream of Maureen's that you spend the book hoping comes true for this special little girl.

The three-way relationship that develops between Mrs. Hoag, Mark, and Maureen is what makes this book so entertaining. The two kids manage to take a woman who had all but become a hermit and get to come back to the real world. She starts leaving the house again and even buys herself an electric car. Mrs. Hoag's part in the kids lives is that kind of like a grandmother. She teaches them how to be responsible by letting them work with her with her valuable and breakable collectibles and just teaching them how they came to be and the stories that go with how she got them. The teamwork that comes out during the robberies also is a lot of fun to read about. I think that it would benefit quite a few kids if they could have a Mrs. Hoag in their lives who kept them on track, showed them fun without getting into trouble and that having responsibilities doesn't always have to be hard work!

Danielle

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