HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Mystery in Chocolate Town: Hershey, Pennsylvania
Author: Carole Marsh
Publisher: Gallopade International, 2007
Related website: www.carolemarshmysteries.com (series)
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Marsh, Carole. The Mystery in Chocolate Town: Hershey, Pennsylvania (published in 2007 by Carole Marshe Books, a division of Gallopade International, P. O. Box 2779, Peachtree City, GA 30269). Christina Yother, age ten, and her brother Grant, age seven, go with their grandparents, Papa and Mimi, to Hershey, PA, so that Mimi, a children’s mystery writer (who is actually author Carole Marsh), can do some research for a new book. While there, the siblings make friends with a couple of other kids who are also visiting Hershey, ten-year-old Sean Andrews and nine-year-old Annabelle Fortune. During their activities together, they learn that 900 silver dollars have recently been stolen from a local man who was planning to donate them to the Milton Hershey School.
The youngsters come across some clues which lead them to think that they might be able to solve the mystery, but they also feel sorry for the victim and change some of their money to silver dollars to give him. Then they are accused of the theft. What will happen to them? Who really stole the coins? And will they ever find out who did it? I read my first Carole Marsh Mystery back in 2008. It was The Mystery at the Kentucky Derby (#15) which I purchased when we were visiting at a state park in Kentucky. I picked up The Mystery in Chocolate Town (#18) when we were visiting the Hershey Museum in Hershey, PA, a couple of years ago and have just now gotten around to reading it. A few euphemisms (ohmygosh, darn, heck) occur, and there is a reference to dancing.
However, Marsh weaves a lot of interesting historical and geographical information about Milton and Kitty Hershey, the Hershey Chocolate Company, and the town of Hershey into her story. We really enjoyed our visit to Hershey, but even if we hadn’t been there, reading the book makes it sound as if it is a fun place to go and see. Also, Marsh introduces her readers to vocabulary-building words, such as opulent and mesmerized, many of which are terms that students need to know for the SAT. There is a glossary to define the new words. The SAT words are in bold type in the text and marked SAT in the glossary. In addition to the “Real Kids, Real Places” mysteries which take place in the United States, Marsh has also begun another series, “Around the World in 80 Mysteries.”