It’s time for the fifth-grade field trip to the Minks Mystery Mansion, the home of Liberty Falls’ eccentric founder, famous for his thousands of inventions.
The tour of the mansion, which is full of zany surprises, gets derailed by an unexpected snow storm. This group is stranded overnight—the perfect opportunity to explore the strange house for the legendary lost inventions, said to be worth a fortune! The story is narrated through short chapters that offer shifting perspectives from several characters, each of whom grapples with a hidden challenge. Aaron, multiracial, is the son of an army sergeant, so the family moves frequently and he never quite feels like he fits in. Jessie, Chinese-American, is lonely when her best friend stays home sick. Eddie, white and a descendant of Minks, feels pressure to help his family save their home from foreclosure. Chloe, implied white, begins to recognize that her best friend is actually the class bully. The four protagonists come together over the course of their shared overnight adventure and help one another learn lessons of leadership, courage, and trust. Oddball adults, pun-filled wordplay, and the founder’s obsessive pickling habit keep the tone lighthearted and humorous even as the kids face mild bullying and a potential robbery.
A quick-paced, goofy delight. (Fiction. 8-12)