Author: William Arden
Year published: first published in 1977 (author Robert Arthur), revised 1985
Publisher: Random House
Number of pages: 143
Recommended age: 9 to 12
Summary (from Amazon): Ruin threatens the proud old Alvaro Family! They can’t pay the mortgage on their ranch. Their house and barn have been destroyed in a suspicious fire. Their only hope is to find the family’s priceless heirloom—a jeweled sword that mysteriously disappeared over 100 years ago. Generations of Alvaros have failed to find it. Can the Three Investigators do any better? The boys’ task seems impossible—until a statue of a headless horse yields an amazing clue!
1. What is the story about? The Three Investigators help a friend at their school save his ranch by finding a family heirloom, which is a sword, for them to help pay their bills.
2. What do you think of the cover and/or the pictures in the book? I like the cover. It isn’t too scary but just looks cool instead.
3. Who is/are the main character(s)? Can you relate to them? Do you like them? How are they like you or not? Jupiter, Pete and Bob are the main characters. Their friend that they help is Diego. I like Pete the best because he is funny and athletic. I like to figure things out like Jupiter.
4. What is your favorite part of the story? I liked it when they got stuck in the cave and had to find their way out. I thought it was cool that they found the skeletons of the people from the past that they were looking for.
5. What is your least favorite part of the story? I didn’t like it when I thought someone was going to get hurt or die. But no one did.
6. Are there parts of the story that don’t make sense? Because it is a mystery nothing made sense until the end.
7. How did the story make you feel? I like trying to be a detective like the Three Investigators. It made me happy that everything turned out good in the end. The ranch was saved and they were able to find the sword. Some parts of the story made me worry, but it just made me want to read more to find out what was going to happen.
8. What lessons did you learn from this story? Make sure you put out camp fires so they don’t start a forest fire. I also learned to never give up. Just keep trying your best to help others.
9. Who do you think would like this book? I think boys and girls would like it. I want to finish all the books in the series before I read them again.
Son's Rating: ★★★★★
What it’s about: This book is number 26 in the Three Investigator book series. We have read all the books up to this point. All the books take place in Rocky Beach CA, a little town in California not too far from the beach. All these books belonged to my brother and then they were passed on to me. I saved them and passed them on to my son. You never really know exactly how old the three main characters are, but it implies that they are in Junior High. Jupiter Jones, Pete Crenshaw and Bob Andrews make up the team of the Three Investigators. They have a secret headquarters, in an old trailer, located in the salvage yard that belongs to Jupiter’s Aunt and Uncle. They are constantly looking for mysteries to solve. By the time this book takes place, they have made a name for themselves in the town as successful junior detectives. This book covers the mystery that surrounds a missing historic sword. A friend of theirs from school lives on a small ranch that is about to be foreclosed. Their nemesis, Skinny Norris, regularly gives them trouble: his father is trying to buy the ranch that has been in the Alvaros’ family for several generations. After spending hours of research at the Historical Society, putting clues together, and evading Skinny’s attempts to sabotage their efforts once again, Jupiter, the brainy one of the bunch, and the rest of the Three Investigators, are able to find the sword and help their friend and his family keep the ranch.
My thoughts: I have always loved the Three Investigators books. They are adventurous enough to keep kids’ attention, but not too scary or violent at the same time. I also like the dynamics of the characters. I think it is great that all three boys are so different but it doesn’t stop them from being friends. The vocabulary in the books is fantastic as well. Jupiter is very smart and likes to throw in big words from time to time. It is just enough to stretch a child’s word base a bit. Yes, I would say that the books are written with boys in mind, but I read them as well when I was younger and liked them. It would really depend on the girl, I guess. The books are slightly out of date, but not so much that they can’t be enjoyed. Because they have to do research the old fashioned way, I think it gives kids a healthy glimpse into what life used to be like and how different they have it now.
My bottom line: I think this is a great read for parents with their kids. The biggest reason is because the time frame is so different. It is a great way for parents or grandparents to show how things were done when they were kids. There were no cell phones and no internet for the Three Investigators to use. They had to use very different resources. If some of the words are too difficult the parents are available to explain them as well.
Mom's Rating: ★★★★★
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