Emily and Jackson try to escape the baddies in this never-too-serious comedy-drama.
Back in the 19th century, Emily and her friend Jackson live happily with Aunt Hilda on her farm somewhere in the West. However, dangers from the previous book (Emily's Fortune, 2010) still lurk, and amid play, pranks and chores, readers know that danger will return. The $10 million Emily has inherited doesn’t affect their lives much because they’re already happy, but it sure attracts bad guys! The two orphans still must escape the dastardly child catchers who want to take Jackson to work in a mill. Then someone suspicious shows up when Aunt Hilda goes away to town, and the two friends find themselves kidnapped. Oh no! How will clever Jackson, not to mention their intrepid dog, Spook, find a way to escape and save Emily? As before, Naylor stuffs her short chapters with fun, ending each with an alliterative phrase, always in huge typeface that takes up half the page, such as “And what in gigglin’ goblins do you think they saw?” It’s a wonderful device to keep children laughing and reading. The suspense is never too threatening and always has a bit of humor involved, yet it's still scary enough to keep readers turning pages. The author makes the resolution delightful and easy, while Emily and Jackson keep readers smiling. The whimsical line drawings by Collins greatly add to the sweet atmosphere.
Spunky! (Historical fiction. 9-12)