Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Book cover: "The Mystery of the Shining Children"

  • Title: The Mystery of the Shining Children
  • Series: Jenny Dean Science Fiction Mysteries (#1 out of 4)
  • Author: Dale Carson (Dale Elissa Bick Carlson)
  • Cover illustrator: Gino D'Achille
  • Interior illustrator: Suzanne Richardson
  • Back cover blurb: "Enter the world of Jenny Dean, a sixteen-year-old sleuth with a passion for solving some of the most extraordinary science fiction mysteries ever recorded. Jenny's escapades take her and her friends beyond the ordinary world and into a super-unusual world of suspense, drama, and adventure."
  • Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
  • Back cover price: $2.95 (the equivalent of about $7.65 today)
  • Year: 1983 
  • Pages: 136
  • Format: Hardcover 
  • Dedication: For my daughter Hannah who is my Jenny and my joy
  • First sentence: Jenny Dean noticed when the stars came out.
  • Last sentence: "Let's call this one The Mystery of the Hidden Trap."
  • A lead-in to the second book in the series? Yep. This book was followed by The Mystery of the Hidden Trap, The Mystery of the Third Eye and The Secret of the Invisible City.
  • Excerpted sentence from the middle #1: Their English teacher was always concerned with showing her students that the world did not center around their own navels.
  • Excerpted sentence from the middle #2: She wasn't as wild over the electronic games as Mike was, but half and hour of watching little computer blobs gobble up other little computer blobs did reduce the mind to a nice, quiet jelly.
  • Excerpted sentence from the middle #3: "And now that we know Jackie's condition is hardly dangerous, we may have to trim our imaginations a bit."
  • Recent tweet that excerpt #3 reminds me of: "Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!"
  • About the author: This is from the "About the Author" on the page preceding the title page of The Mystery of the Shining Children: "Dale Carson is the author of over thirty books for young people. ... Ms. Carlson says that her daughter Hannah, 'edits all my current books, and also provides my favorite heroines. She is particularly the heroine of the Jenny Dean Science Fiction Mysteries.' Her son Danny, coauthored her book The Shining Pool. Ms. Carlson lives in New York City." ... The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction notes in its short biography that "Carlson's work is lively, and consistently displays a loving-kindness about the natural world."
  • About the series: Mary Crosson's "No Frills" Juvenile Series Book Information Site has this to say about the four Jenny Dean books: "Rarity of rarities, it's a science fiction-based mystery series for girls, and without a single unicorn or talking animal! Jenny Dean, daughter of a veterinarian and a psychologist, lives in Winter Falls, Kansas, a small town populated with aliens, an evil Nazi scientist (named 'Adolf Hess,') mind control, quintuplets, and bad-seed children. She and her friends investigate the creepy goings-on in this Grosset and Dunlap series, which was published in picture cover format in 1983-1984."
  • Rating on Goodreads: 3.55 stars (out of 5)
  • Review excerpt: Writing on Series Books for Girls in 2016, Jennifer White states, "Jenny is more perfect than Nancy Drew in the opening scene. The author lets the reader know that Jenny's parents and the police chief come to Jenny for advice concerning just about all of their problems.  And Jenny always knows the answers." Check out White's post for more insight into the series' first and second books. (And while you're there, her website is fantastic.)

But wait, there's more!

Here are the book's endpapers (featuring a map of Jenny Dean's town) and an advertisement, on the book's last page, for a contest to "Win Jenny Dean's Bike." The entry deadline was March 30, 1984, so we're out of luck.

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