Carole Marsh Mysteries are great books for children in grades 3-5. Though the books are part of a series, each can be read as a stand-alone book.
Carole Marsh has written several series of fun and educational mystery books. The "Real Kids, Real Places" series has 19 books--each one set in a real place in America. Of The Mystery at Walt Disney World, my daughter Gracie (7) says, "I like that the characters are real kids. I like that they call their grandparents Mimi and Papa because that's what I call mine too! I really like that the book is about a real place that I have been because I could picture the places in my head as I read about them. It makes me want to go back to Disney World." Of the eight books in the "Around the World in 80 Mysteries" series, we reviewed The Mystery at Mount Fuji. Gracie's opinion: "It was fun to read about Christina and Grant going to Japan. I liked learning about Mount Fuji. I also liked learning to write some words in Japanese. Can we go there sometime?"
Carole has several others mystery series: "Masters of Disasters" (3 scientific mysteries), "Postcard Mysteries" (3 postcard puzzle stories), "Awesome Mysteries" (2 animal-related mysteries), "Criss-Cross Applesauce" (3 great stories for girls), "Three Amigos" (3 great stories for boys), "Pretty Darn Scary Mysteries" (4 books about legend, lore, history, and mystery), and "Fantasy Field Trips" (3 books set in out-of-this-world locations). Carole has been writing children's mysteries since 1979. She started writing them so that kids would be encouraged to go and see the places that they had read about. What a great homeschool activity! Her locales have changed over time, and some of the places would be impossible to visit today. But the books definitely encourage kids to dream and to want to learn more about the places they are reading about.
On Carole's website, kids can join the Carole Marsh Fan Club, receive a free poster, and even apply to be a character in a future Carole Marsh book! Parents can download free worksheets that correspond to the books, as well as Book Club Discussion Questions and Activities. I love this because the learning can be expanded well beyond the pages of the book.
Carole Marsh has written, and continues to write, great books for kids! We will definitely be purchasing more of them, and I would encourage you to introduce them to your children as well.
Another review. . .
Carole Marsh is the author of many mystery books. One of her mystery series
is titled “Real Kids, Real Places,” and there are currently 26
books in this series. The two books I was given to review from this series
are The Wild Water Mystery at Niagara Falls (#25) and The
Colonial Caper Mystery at Williamsburg (#26). Another mystery series she has written is called “Around
the World in 80 Mysteries,” though currently it looks as though there
are only 14 books available. The book I was given to review from this series
is The Rip-Roaring Mystery on the African Safari (#13). Both series are aimed
at children in grades 3-6, and the books in both series can be read in any
Each book boasts that it includes five SAT words. These words are in bold
print in the book, and there is a glossary in the back of the book that defines
the words. All of the books also have a “Built-In Book Club” that
consists of two parts. The first is subtitled “Talk About It”;
it is a series of questions to get children to think and talk about the book.
The second part is subtitled “Bring it to Life,” and this section
includes a list of activities, projects, and games that children might enjoy
doing. Some of these can be done with only one child, but others need a group
of children. There is also a list of facts and trivia about the location of
the book. In the “Real Kids, Real Places” series, a Pop Quiz and
Scavenger Hunt are located in the back of the book as well.
In all the books in both mystery series, the reader goes on an adventure with
Christina, Grant, Mimi, and Papa. These four characters are based on the author,
her husband, and their two grandchildren. In addition, Carole Marsh includes
another set of real children as characters in the “Real Kids, Real Places” series.
All of the mystery books take place at real locations, and the author hopes
that the readers are able to visit some of the locations after they’ve
read her books.
In the three books I read, Christina, Grant, Mimi, and Papa travel to the
location in the book title for some sightseeing. Once they arrive, the children
are quickly confronted with a mystery they need to solve. In The
Wild Water Mystery at Niagara Falls, the children need to figure out why they keep seeing
wooden barrels; in The Colonial Caper Mystery at Williamsburg, the children
must find a missing map meant for the Queen of England; in The
Rip-Roaring Mystery on the African Safari, the children need to discover why a rare white
lion is missing. Mimi and Papa give Christina (age 10) and Grant (age 7) a
lot of free reign, so the children explore the location and mystery without
a lot of supervision from their grandparents. Even though their grandparents
aren’t keeping a close eye on them, Christina and Grant purposefully
keep their sleuthing hidden from Mimi and Papa, because they know that their
grandparents would put a stop to it. As a result, Christina and Grant find
themselves in perilous situations, but at the last minute they are saved by
the local police as the mystery is solved.
While the idea behind the books is neat, I didn’t love the books. The
SAT words are out of place, and it felt to me like the author picked a random
sentence, chose a simple word, and replaced it with a word that would qualify
as an SAT word. The stories are formulaic, and the conclusions to the mysteries
come quite abruptly and are even a little confusing and disappointing. I did
like that even though there was some mutual teasing between Christina and Grant,
the brother and sister got along well and looked out for each other. It was
also interesting to read a little about the different locations of each book.
Overall, though, I don’t really recommend either of these mystery series.
And another one...
Carole Marsh has written many mystery books for children. She has several
different series of books, but each of her mysteries has the same premise.
The main characters are Carole's own grandchildren, Christina and Grant.
They solve mysteries as they travel to various places around the world with
Carole and her husband--known to the reader as "Mimi" and "Papa." I was given
three books to review from the author's collection. The Breathtaking Mystery
on Mt. Everest (The Top of the World) is number 14 in the Around the World
in 80 Mysteries series. The Mission Possible Mystery at Space Center Houston (#27)
and The Madcap Mystery of the Missing Liberty Bell (#28) are both
part of the Real Kids, Real Places series.
All of the Carole Marsh Mysteries are targeted towards children in grades
3-6. These are chapter books that can be used as supplemental material in
your homeschool. The characters in these books visit real places and historical
facts are presented in each book. As homeschoolers, you and your children
can either visit these places or chart them on a map. You can use each book
as a springboard for your studies of history. Each mystery book includes
five SAT words that are found in bold print throughout the story and then
defined in the Glossary at the back of the book. The author adds "Built-In Book Club" sections to the end of each
book to encourage children to talk about the story with others who have read
it and to give them activities to complete that are based on the story. Teacher
guides can be purchased for most of the Carole Marsh Mysteries. If you take a
visit to Carole's website (www.carolemarshmysteries.com), you can find other
activities, including worksheets to download, a fan club to join, and the opportunity
to apply to become a character in one of her "Real Kids, Real Places" books.
The books that I had the chance to read are fun and imaginative mysteries that
children will love. Children will relate to Christina and Grant as they work
together to figure out clues to the mysteries they come across. The characters
are funny, and they love each other, even though they squabble at times. I like
the way Carole uses onomatopoeia in these books and exaggerates the sound effects
by using different fonts to give readers a visual of the sounds being made. I
think kids who read the books by themselves will love these built-in sound effects.
At times, the writing style of Mrs. Marsh started to wear on me. She seems to
jump quickly from one thing to the next without adequate explanation of what
is happening. The author uses bits of potty humor here and there, but I know
that children find this kind of writing hilarious, and none of it is too distasteful.
Sometimes the children seem to be wandering around without much adult supervision,
leading to dangerous situations. Some children are very sensitive to this type
of story, so as a parent, you would need to read the story ahead of time to make
sure it would not be too scary for your child. Every now and then, I would come
across errors that should have been caught during the editing process. It seems
that our standards for correct grammar and spelling in literature have been lowered,
and it does frustrate me to find these types of errors, especially in children's
Overall, I feel I can recommend the Carole Marsh Mysteries to homeschool families,
as long as they are being used as supplements to a strong reading program. I
found the books to be fun, light-hearted mysteries that children will enjoy picking
up and reading on a quiet afternoon. I am impressed by Carole's efforts to make
the places and characters accessible to her readers. Homeschoolers will surely
find ways to incorporate these stories into areas of study across their curriculum.