Because she is the only girl who has three brothers, Mary Beth craves privacy. She finds some in an abandoned barn, close to the family’s property. However, her father has forbidden her to enter the barn; he says the barn’s not safe as it’s about to fall down. She doesn’t want to disobey her father, but the need to be by herself is so great at times she sneaks out to the barn anyway.
To make herself comfortable, she has taken a blanket from the house, and occasionally she sneaks out some food to eat. She also has two pads of paper in her secret hideout that she uses for both sketching and as a diary. She has never shared her drawings with anyone and she considers the things she writes in her diary to be extremely private and personal.
When she discovers that someone has been reading her diary and eating her snacks, she first suspects her brother. Johnny followed her and now knows the secret of her hideout, but he says he didn’t eat her food. The two of them learn that someone else is using the barn as a hide-out. They must then decide whether to keep it a secret or ask others for help.
What I Like: This is a modern-day story about people in the Amish community. Their life-style is much different from that of most of us, so it’s good for kids (and adults!) to learn about how other people live. A Glossary of Amish Terms is included in the beginning of the book, defining some words that are used throughout the text.
Also, this story teaches good lessons about the problem of disobeying parents and about honesty.
What I Dislike: Nothing.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Age Appeal: 9-12.
Publisher Info: Tommy Nelson Publishers, 2010; ISBN: 9781400315932; Paperback, $9.99.
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Special Info: This book is part one of the publisher’s The Mysteries of Middlefield Series. Visit the author's website.