HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The History Mystery, Volume 7 of the “Farm Mystery” Series
Authors: Stephen and Diane (or Susie) Castleberry
Publisher: Castleberry Farms Press, 2005
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 9-12 but suitable for anyone
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Castleberry, Stephen and Diane (or Susie). The History Mystery, Volume 7 of the “Farm Mystery” Series (published in 2005 by Castleberry Farms Press, P. O. Box 337, Poplar, WI 54864). This is volume 7 of the “Farm Mystery” series, the previous six of which we had already read, featuring thirteen-year-old Jason and eleven-year-old Andy Nelson, who live with their parents, older sister Cathy, two younger brothers Ben and Matthew, and younger sister Leah on a farm in rural Tennessee and have formed “The Great Detective Agency” to investigate mysteries around their home.
The Castleberrys say, “Parents can be assured that there are no murders or other objectionable elements in these books. The boys learn lessons in obedience and responsibility, while having lots of fun. There are no worldly situations or language, and no boy-girl relationships.” In The History Mystery, the main problem is to find out what their grandfather had seen when fighting the Germans in World War I and written about in letters to his mother, which the boys’ mother (Grandfather’s daughter) was reading out loud after dinner each evening. Other mysteries along the way involve strange tire tracks in their barnyard, how dead animals became impaled on a barb wire fence, and what is the way to tell a raw egg from a hard-boiled one.
I really like these books because, first of all, the family’s homeschooling is presented in a positive light, and secondly, this is a family who truly loves one another and thus serves as a good model to children reading about them of what a family ought to be. No, these children in the books are not syrupy sweet little darlings who never make any mistakes, but they have been trained to obey, and when they do something wrong, they learn from it. Even Mom and Dad have to apologize at times. Jeremy (then age 11) enjoyed hearing this one read aloud.