The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls

Book review by
Pam Gelman, Common Sense Media
The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls Book Poster Image
Fun page-turner weaves in some ruby slipper magic.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Characters try to accept differences and work as a team to solve problems.

Violence & Scariness

Use of the expression "put a gun to head." Also, discussion of whether or not Ivy can be killed by Cha-Cha. Fire used by Cha-Cha to smoke the girls out from the house. Ivy's shoulder is wounded and bleeds. Threat of being squashed into youth potion.


Very little questionable language -- the worst it gets is "crap" and "butt."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is story is loosely tied to characters from The Wizard of Oz, and some parts are similarly scary: A certain wicked witch threatens the girls, who are banished to a strange land and have to dodge a fire. Also, a father vanishes, and his daughter is jinxed. But these scary sequences also have humor. There are many references to body image, but it's the older women who are obsessed with their looks -- the girls have the right perspective.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of an infant, 5, 10, and 14-year-old Written bybizzibean July 22, 2011

Can't wait for the sequel!

We listened to this book on a long road trip and my kids couldn't get enough of it. Even my 14 yr old would get in the car and say "Hurry up! Turn the... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old May 15, 2015

One of my favorite books!

I think that this is a great book IF you have read The Wizard of Oz, or at least know the story. When I was younger, this book was my favorite. The characters a... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byalexapnxc February 20, 2015

One of my favorite books

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Recently, I was going through all of the books I read in elementary school and I remembered this one. This book was one of my fa... Continue reading

What's the story?

Three very different 11-year-old girls live on Gumm Street: Franny thrives on adventure, Cat is athletic with ESP, and Pru is safety conscious and loves to have her nose in a book. Around the time that a fourth girl, Ivy, moves to Gumm Street, strange things start to happen. The piano teacher and friend of the girls, Mr. Staccato, floats away into the sky, a slipper from The Wizard of Oz disappears, and a woman named Cha-Cha Staccato arrives bearing an uncanny resemblance to a certain wicked witch.

The girls must overcome their differences and work as a team to get to the bottom of these mysterious happenings, save themselves from being squeezed into a potion, and even save their beloved town of Sherbet.

Is it any good?

Filled with adventure, mystery, teamwork, fantasy, humor, and wonderful illustrations, this is a page-turner that will delight tween readers. Sending a good message for this often-cliquey age, the 11-year-old girls living on Gumm Street are very different and don't like one another in the beginning. But each has unique skills that makes her a good member of this sleuthing team.

The fantasy elements and even the character names are quirky and fun. Positive messages of beauty are woven in when two over-the-top characters who want the perfect eternal-youth-and-beauty potion have their plans foiled by the girls, who have a much more grounded idea of beauty.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the girls' personalities. How do they differ, and how are they are similar? What's the common thread that pulls the girls into this "club" and helps them recognize their companions' talents? Parents can also talk about Bling Bling and Coco's quest for beauty and how the girls -- who have their own challenges -- are more accepting of their physical selves.

Book details

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