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Mystery Of Drear House (Apple Signature) Paperback – February 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 540L (What's this?)
  • Series: Apple Signature
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (February 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590956272
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590956277
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,058,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Through young Thomas Small, Hamilton resolves the large questions posed in The House of Dies Drear. Thomas's father is listing the treasures cached in the Underground Railwaytunnels that honeycomb abolitionist Drear's landwhile the boy learns more about the neighboring Darrows from little Pesty Darrow. Thomas feels drawn, too, into a wary rapport with Macky Darrow. Later events involve the Drear caretaker Pluto, Professor Small's grandmother Rhetty and haunting Mrs. Darrow who appears suddenly in a new room in the tunnel. Perhaps no one but Hamilton could invent so thrilling and credible a story about people, sensitively individualized. One feels their relationship symbolizes a treasure to rival the tunnel's fabulous contents. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-9 Hamilton returns to characters she created in The House of Dies Drear (Macmillan, 1968)the Small and Darrow families. Young Thomas Small and his family have moved into the home of Dies Drear, an abolitionist whose house was a major stop on the Underground Railroad. In the first book, the family discovered vast underground passages which led to a great treasure cavern beneath their property, containing gold and riches given to escaping slaves to help finance their trips to freedom. In this sequel, they learn more about Drear and his visitors, and they must decide what to do with the treasure, and how best to protect it (and themselves) from the ``sinister'' Darrows, who have searched for the treasure for years. The characters are colorful and delightful, and Hamilton sustains an eerie, suspenseful mood throughout the novel. Although this dank, murky story could stand on its own, the convoluted plot is best understood by those familiar with the first book. Not Hamilton at her very best, but nonetheless a good solid purchase for school and public libraries. Elizabeth M. Reardon, McCallie School, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Virginia Esther Hamilton was born, as she said, "on the outer edge of the Great Depression," on March 12, 1934. The youngest of five children of Kenneth James and Etta Belle Perry Hamilton, Virginia grew up amid a large extended family in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The farmlands of southwestern Ohio had been home to her mother's family since the late 1850s, when Virginia's grandfather, Levi Perry, was brought into the state as an infant via the Underground Railroad.

Virginia graduated at the top of her high-school class and received a full scholarship to Antioch College in Yellow Springs. In 1956, she transferred to the Ohio State University in Columbus and majored in literature and creative writing. She moved to New York City in 1958, working as a museum receptionist, cost accountant, and nightclub singer, while she pursued her dream of being a published writer. She studied fiction writing at the New School for Social Research under Hiram Haydn, one of the founders of Atheneum Press.

It was also in New York that Virginia met poet Arnold Adoff. They were married in 1960. Arnold worked as a teacher, and Virginia was able to devote her full attention to writing, at least until daughter Leigh was born in 1963 and son Jaime in 1967. In 1969, Virginia and Arnold built their "dream home" in Yellow Springs, on the last remaining acres of the old Hamilton/Perry family farm, and settled into a life of serious literary work and achievement.

In her lifetime, Virginia wrote and published 41 books in multiple genres that spanned picture books and folktales, mysteries and science fiction, realistic novels and biography. Woven into her books is a deep concern with memory, tradition, and generational legacy, especially as they helped define the lives of African Americans. Virginia described her work as "Liberation Literature." She won every major award in youth literature.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Plume45 on January 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
Excellent sequel to THE HOUSE OF DIES DREAR, this book continues the story of the King of the Underground Railroad, some 8 months later. But for the teenage hero, Thomas, and young Pesty, there are so many dark secrets yet to be revealed--which ones to keep and which to share? We thought that "things" were settled, that the Darrows had been scared away from Mr. Pluto's cave for good, that the cataloguing was going on for the Foundation...Not so--those wretched Darrows are still hunting and digging, grimly deteremined to recover the treasure which they feel is their legacy
The plot is as sinuous as the secret passageways used by runaway slaves, while hidden rooms are gradually revealed and we learn the legend of Indian Maiden. Do ghosts still haunt the old place? Why is Pesty suddenly nervous and will Macky choose to be a friend or foe to Thomas? Beware of the effects of living too closely in the past, or it may distort your conception of the present and destroy your future.
Difficult moral choices face both children and adults in this excellent mystery: how long can Right and Wrong coexist in one house? How to protect the obvious treasure as well as the written record--a true historical treasure. Very exciting events happen in one day (90 pp), producing intensive reading in places. I thought I could predict part of the very ending, but my guesses were wrong. I challenge all who read HOUSE to read this sequel and write down your plot predictions before the last few chapters. Mystery buffs and amateur literary sleuths--Don't miss this one!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 3, 2005
Format: School & Library Binding
This book is a sequel to "The house of Dies Drear". It shows the relationship between two arguing families. The Darrow family is out to find gold which they think is hidden on the Small property. The Small family live in the mansion which used to belong to the late abolitionist, Dies Drear. His house used to be part of the Underground Railroad, which explains the secret passgeways and hidden tunnels that Thomas and Pesty find.

Thomas Small is the main character who has to make some difficult choices in this book but has the help of Pesty Darrow, his best friend. Mattie Darrow, Pesty's mother who is very sick has the whole mystery in her hands and knows the answer but she cannot talk or speak due to her illness.

Other characters in the book include, Thomas' father, Professor Small who is investigating the mystery of their house. Pesty's brother, Macky Darrow is the one who wants to find the gold. Mr. Pluto, an old man who lives in a cave and guards the secret of the treasure. I would recomend reading this book if you like to read about mysteries and surprising friendships. I liked the book because it has thrills and an exciting ending.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
Book Review of "The Mystery of Drear House"
The book I read is a fiction story called, "The Mystery of Drear House". This is an
exciting sequel to "The House of Dies Drear". The author's name is Virginia Hamilton. She is
married to a poet by the name of Arnold Ardoff.
Virginia has written many African American books in the past years including, "Paul
Robeson: The Life and Times of a Free Black Man", and "The People Could Fly: American Black
Folktales".
"The Mystery of Drear House" was about a black family that just moved into an old
abolitionist's house. They find the house has lots of secret passage ways to tunnels leading to
many caves, plus their neighbor's mother's room. The only problem they have is where they're
going to put all the endless fortune of the old abolitionist Dies Drear's, which has been hidden for
hundreds of years in an old cavern..
This book really didn't have any weaknesses in my opinion. "The Mystery of Drear
House" didn't have any wrong turns, or boring places. It was very organized, and didn't stretch
the story line. The book held my interest until the very end. The ending sounded like it could
have a sequel.
I enjoyed reading this book, and I would recommend, "The Mystery of Drear House," to a
middle school student that likes mystery-fiction. First they should read, "The House of Dies
Drear," to get some background information. I would also recommend this to a person that likes
to read about the underground railroad, or that is interested in history.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
The House of Dies Drear is a great book. I loved the way the author left you hanging at the end of each chapter. I read it in class. It was really hard not to read to the next chapter. I loved it.
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A Kid's Review on May 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
Drear House has dangerous secrets that have never been told. The house is anything but normal with sliding walls, secret passageways, and even gold treasure. Thomas has one secret. He needs to find out who is responsible for the weird things going on. Thomas needs to know fast, before he becomes a secret himself. Do you think the house is hauntd?
THE MYSTERY OF DREAR HOUSE is a thrilling, terrifying, nightmare come true. I am easily scared. Yet, I enjoyed this book thoroughly. Since the descriptions were strong in detail, I was so distracted I was less nervous about the book. This is a book you don't want to miss!
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