A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this classic Nancy Drew mystery -- the best-selling of the whole series -- includes scenes of Nancy's father being drugged and kidnapped, a truck purposely running Nancy and her father off the road, and threats made to many characters. Today's readers may find Nancy dated in terms of dress, language, and lack of high-tech gizmos, but her pluckiness, problem-solving tenacity, and fearlessness make her a timeless heroine. The version of this book you'll usually find for sale was updated in the '50s from an edition first published in 1930.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When Nancy's friend Helen tells her about a ghost haunting her great-aunt's mansion, she's determined to check it out. But she's sidetracked when a suspicious character tells her that her father is in danger. Sure enough, her father is kidnapped and as she rushes to find him she also finds a connection between her father and the ghost.
Is it any good?
Nancy Drew, a name synonymous with female-teen sleuthiness, provides a model for young readers of determination, courage, and problem solving. She makes friends easily, garners the admiration of the chief of police, gets confessions out of criminals without breaking a sweat, and most of all, she's her father's daughter. These mysteries, in circulation since the 1930s, are each page-turners, where Nancy naturally comes out on top. They're predictable and sometimes repetitive, but when Nancy gets herself into a dangerous situation, the reader will follow along with nail-biting interest. The syndicate behind author Carolyn Keene has figured out a formula that works and has stood the test of time.
The scary scenes -- like when a truck chases Nancy down, or when Nancy confronts a criminal -- are less frightening than anything found in a Harry Potter book. So tween mystery buffs should definitely consider working some classic Nancy Drew into their libraries.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the difference in lifestyles of today's teens compared with characters found in these books. How do Nancy and her family and friends communicate with each other without cell phones, computers, text messages, etc.? How has technology improved detective work?