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The Secret of the Mansion Hardcover – June 24, 2003

4.8 out of 5 stars 138 customer reviews
Book 1 of 39 in the Trixie Belden Series

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Trixie's summer is going to be sooo boring with her two older brothers away at camp. But then a millionaire's daughter moves into the next-door mansion, an old miser hides a fortune in his decrepit house, and a runaway kid starts hiding out in Sleepyside!

About the Author

In the 1940s Julie Campbell was running her own literary agency when Western Publishing put out a call for talented authors to write mystery series for kids. Julie proposed the Trixie Belden series and wrote the first 6 titles herself. She also started the Ginnie Gordon series and wrote several Cherry Ames books. Julie Campbell died in 1999.

Beverly Cleary was born in McMinnville, Oregon, and, until she was old enough to attend school, lived on a farm in Yamhill, a town so small it had no library. Her mother arranged with the State Library to have books sent to Yamhill and acted as librarian in a lodge room upstairs over a bank. There Mrs. Cleary learned to love books. When the family moved to Portland, where Mrs. Cleary attended grammar school and high school, she soon found herself in the low reading circle, an experience that has given her sympathy for the problems of struggling readers. By the third grade she had conquered reading and spent much of her childhood either with books or on her way to and from the public library. Before long her school librarian was suggesting that she should write for boys and girls when she grew up. The idea appealed to her, and she decided that someday she would write the books she longed to read but was unable to find on the library shelves, funny stories about her neighborhood and the sort of children she knew.

After graduation from junior college in Ontario, California, and the University of California at Berkeley, Mrs. Cleary entered the School of Librarianship at the University of Washington, Seattle. There she specialized in library work with children. She was Children's Librarian in Yakima, Washington, until she married Clarence Cleary and moved to California. The Clearys are the parents of twins, now grown. Mrs. Cleary's hobbies are travel and needlework.

Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the 1984 John Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw, for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children in 1983. Her Ramona and Her Father and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 were named 1978 and 1982 Newbery Honor Books, respectively. Among Mrs. Cleary's other awards are the American Library Association's 1975 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the Catholic Library Association's 1980 Regina Medal, and the University of Southern Mississippi's 1982 Silver Medallion, all presented in recognition of her lasting contribution to children's literature. In addition, Mrs. Cleary was the 1984 United States author nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, a prestigious international award. Equally important are the more than 35 statewide awards Mrs. Cleary's books have received based on the direct votes of her young readers. The Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden for Children, featuring bronze statues of Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and Ribsy, was recently opened in Portland, Oregon.

This witty and warm author is truly an international favorite. Mrs. Cleary's books appear in over twenty countries in fourteen languages and her characters, including Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbits, Otis Spoffordm, and Beezus and Ramona Quimby, as well as Ribsy, Socks, and Ralph S. Mouse, have delighted children for generations. There have been Japanese, Spanish, and Swedish television programs based on the Henry Huggins series. PBS-TV aired a ten-part series based on the Ramona stories. One-hour adaptations of the three Ralph S. Mouse books have been shown on ABC-TV. All of Mrs. Cleary's adaptations still can be seen on cable television, and the Ramona adaptations are available in video stores.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Trixie Belden (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (June 24, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037582412X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375824128
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a wonderful introduction to a great series of books for young girls. I read the first six when I was 10 years old, and I fell in love with Trixie and her friends. Those stories were written by Julie Campbell in the 1950's and republished in the 1960's. Kathryn Kenny took over with book seven in the late '60's. Readers will notice a change in Trixie's personality and in the focus of the stories. Kenny introduces more of the history of the Hudson River Valley, and includes more facts and less of the banter and teasing that made me so fond of the original books. However, the books which Kenny continued writing into the '70's and the '80's, which I bought for my daughter, are entertaining, if not quite as much fun as the original six. The Red Trailer Mystery, the sequal to the Secret of the Mansion, is also a must to read for anyone who wants to get the full story of how Jim came to be Honey's adopted brother, The Gatehouse Mystery explains the formation of the Bob White club, The Mysterious Visitor chronicles the advent of Diana Lynch into the group. Book five, The Mystery Off Glen Road is a personal favorite of mine, an absolutely hilarious book telling of Trixie's attempts to become a 'lady', not to impress Jim, but for such convoluted reasons that she has her entire family in an uproar. I hope that like the Nancy Drew mysteries, some publisher who knows a good thing when he sees it, will update the Trixie Belden books and republish them for the next generation. I would hate to see this series that has brought so much pleasure and happiness to so many girls be lost forever.
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Format: Hardcover
The Trixie Belden series, of which this book is the beginning, is something that I haul out every year and reread. I'm 48 years old--that's a lot of rereading, considering I read them the first time when I was 10! I still have my beat-up Whitman hardbacks of the first 6, with Mary Stevens' wonderful illustrations, and I guard them jealously! My daughter, who is grown now, read them with enjoyment, but the big surprise is that my son loved them even more than she did. Everyone who says that their daughters enjoy these books should introduce their sons to them--the male characters, Mart, Brian, and Jim, are great role-models and my son identified with them a great deal. My children and I all remember and quote parts of these books to each other from time to time. I learned a lot of vocabulary from them, and I think I developed my sense of humor directly from these books as well. I echo everyone here who has lamented the fact that they are out of print. Reissue them!
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Format: Hardcover
Thirteen year old Trixie Belden is convinced that this summer will be long and boring. With her older brothers at camp, she'll only have her parents and younger brother for companionship.
But then a family with a girl her age move into the house next door. Even better, Honey's family has horses. When they go over to explore the mansion of Old Man Frayne, they discover his great nephew Jim. Jim has just run away from a cruel step-father. With Mr. Frayne sick in the hospital, they start looking for the treasure rumored to be hidden in the old house somewhere. Can they find it? Will Jim's step father catch up with him?
This is the first book in the Trixie Belden series. I discovered the series when I was in jr. high, and 16 years later, I still love it. The characters are real, with strengths and weaknesses. Heck, Trixie even gets mad at her friends and family upon occasion. I was drawn to these books because of the friendships displayed, and I used to dream about being part of the group.
This book introduces only three of the series main characters. Trixie and Honey are not themselves at first, but by the end of the book, they are already acting more like themselves. Their characters show the best of what can happen when you pick up on a friend's strengths. Trixie goes from selfish and whiney to thinking about others and being grateful for what she has. Being around tomboyish Trixie helps Honey get over her fears and start to do more things she's always wanted to do but been too afraid to try. While I find the characters a little annoying at first, they are very true to their ages and the changes are believable.
The storyline in this book never lets up either, with lots of stuff going on to keep anyone entertained.
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Format: Audio Cassette
For years now, I have read Nancy Drew, but one day I was browsing through Barnes and Noble and Trixie Belden caught my eye. I read the back cover and thought it looked really good read. After reading the back cover, I wanted to know more, so I read the first couple of pages. The first sentence hit home for me, saying "Oh Moms, I'll just die if I don't have a horse." I thought, "Hey! This book has everything! Horses, (since I'm obsessed with horses) mystery, and Trixie sounds just like me!" I begged my mom to let me buy it, and started reading it that night. I was hooked from the first page. Trixie is just like me- the same age (13), personality, and sense of adventure. Except for the blond hair, we were practically identical! (That definitly helped in the whole intrugue of the book.) Every chapter that I read I was more and more excited about this book. I couldn't stop reading because I wanted to find out what happened in the end so badly! It was addicting. Here's basically happens:

This book is about Trixie Belden, a thirteen year old girl who lives in a small town called Sleepyside, New York on the Hudson River, about thirty miles north of NYC. It's summer, and Trixie is bored to death, having her two older brothers Brian and Mart away at camp working as junior counselors. The only person left to play with now is her five year old brother, Bobby. Then all of that changes when a girl her age moves in to the Manor House up the hill. Seeing horses, Trixie immediatly runs up the hill to meet the new girl in the manor house. Who she meets doesn't exactly meet her expectations. Honey Wheeler is a shy, thin, pale girl who had just gotten over a long illness, leaving her over-cautious and nervous. Trixie's first impressions of her are that she's just another stuck-up, snobby, rich girl.
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