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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Ladd Family Adventures

Where do I even START with this one?

I had one amazing best friend growing up who read as voraciously as I did. One of the things we used to do with one another when we were growing up and going over to each other's houses to play, was to spread our book collections out on the floor and take inventory. We did this all. the. time. I still remember what her bookshelves looked like and I remember mine also.

We were both very much into reading mystery stories and we tried just about anything we could get our hands on. Of course, there were the regulars - Nancy, Trixie, Cherry, etc. But then we would also scour the racks of our local Christian book store to see what we could find there.

A few weeks back I was browsing our Goodwill bookshelves and I stumbled across three books from the Ladd Family Adventures, by Lee Roddy. My heart skipped a beat. I knew these stories. Originally published by Focus on the Family in the late 80's, these books were old friends. They were out at the same time Sadie Rose, Elizabeth Gail and Mandie were making a splash on the young Christian reader scene.

I grabbed the three titles at Goodwill (each a measly $0.99) and fingered them gently, remembering my friend and her bookshelves. I don't remember which of us owned these books though. We owned so many of the same, I'm not sure if these were in her collection or in mine. I can tell you that now they are in mine!

I read Secret of the Shark Pit this past month and, well, almost wanted to leave them as a pleasant memory in the past. Just a bit cheesy? But there's something about them still and I don't mind keeping them around for my own kids to enjoy. There are fifteen books in this series and they've all been republished recently (2006) by Mott Media.

In Secret of the Shark Pit we meet twelve year old Josh Ladd, and his family, who are going on an adventure in Hawaii. Josh's best friend, Tank, had recently moved to Hawaii with his family and Josh is lonely for his friendship. The circumstances that take the family to Hawaii, and the manner which they travel about, are totally unbelievable almost to the point of ridiculousness at times. That said, there is a mystery involved and a camaraderie between Josh and Tank that keeps you reading. The mystery surrounds an ancient Hawaiian artifact and a mysterious stranger who is racing Josh's father to the discovery of this historic treasure. Predictably, the Ladd family comes out on top and decide to move to Hawaii after enjoying their time there.

I'm probably not going to re-read the series myself, but I've verified that it's clean and it's enough of a fun adventure/mystery that I wouldn't worry (at all) about handing them over to my kids to see if they like them.

Although I didn't hold onto the Ladd Family books from when I was younger, I do have a separate series, also by Roddy, that I have hung onto in hopes of re-reading soon. I enjoyed Roddy's style a great deal at one time. I can't say it's really my thing any longer but it's fun to revisit the past.

As it turns out, the books that landed at Goodwill were apparently discarded from a local church library. I don't know who made the decision to toss them, but I'm glad that they did. It's fun to find pieces of your past in this manner.

I'm linking this up to the Children's Classics Mystery Challenge, even though it doesn't really qualify as a "classic." But for me, these books held appeal when I was younger and if you can find a copy of them somewhere, don't let the more modern cover art throw you off the trail. (I think Focus did a better job at publishing and am glad I found these particular editions but ...2006 is probably the easier to come by if you think you might be interested.)

mysterychallenge

Reading is supposed to be fun and books like these remind me of that fact. To my childhood best friend and 'sister forever' - cheers! Thinkin' about you!

6 comments:

Brooke from The Bluestocking Guide said...

Oh I chose a newer mystery this month. Mine

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

I'm not familiar with these books. I'll keep my eyes open for them.

Mark said...

I've read the first 6 or so in the series and all of the DJ Dillon books. You're right, they don't hold up well now, but I loved them when I was the right age for them.

Sky said...

I agree that good clean fun is about the depth of that series, but a good light read for boys!

Z-Kids said...

I too LOVED the Ladd Family books as a kid. Sharks! Volcanoes! Jungles! All great imagination fodder for a kid. I re-read the first three with Isaac a few years ago, and then let him loose with the rest of the series on his own. Good memories...
Z-Dad

Krista said...

I remember those! ;)

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