In a nutshell, new neighbors move in, they’re mostly ignored by their parents (back to that in a moment), the Aldens barge in and make friends, they all build a treehouse, find a hidden room, and fix a old (kind of dumb) feud between the neighbor’s father and uncle.
It’s actually a pretty cute and fairly realistic story. I like the idea of them building a treehouse, mostly by themselves, although my own children are far too young for it. Some day. And while the feud is dumb, it kind of makes sense. And the mystery of the hidden room isn’t much of a mystery, but it’s about the right level for a kid’s book.
All together, it’s a fun book. And hey. The family next door is constantly referred to as they Beach boys (their name is beach, their house is on the beach). This amuses me more than it probably should.
One thing that really bugs me and is only sort of mentioned in the story is the Beach boys' (heh) relationship with their parents:
“I know he is an important scientist now. He won’t have much time for me, I’m afraid.”
:\ I like how the Aldens are so independent, but you never get the idea that it’s because their grandfather doesn’t have time for them…
A few random thoughts:
“We really have big dog,” said Benny. “His name is Watch, but he isn’t here this summer. My Aunt Jane wanted him on the farm.”
Why is Watch not in any of these stories? It’s just kind of weird at this point…
Benny Alden was a boy who liked to see things happen. One day at breakfast he burst out, “Those kids next door are the dumbest kids I ever saw.”
Blunt much? Feels like a younger kid though, so it works.
Sammy said, “I know. Maybe there’s something hidden in the mattress. Come on, Jeffrey.”