Andy Shane and the Barn Sale Mystery

Andy Shane and the Barn Sale Mystery is a story about Andy and the time he spends with his granny.  The story teaches a valuable lesson about the value of giving.  The book is reviewed by Melissa Y. at Sweet on Books.

What you need to know:

• The story is short and very manageable for new readers, but the writing style and use of chapters will make children
feel like they are reading a more grown up book.
• Note that Andy lives with his grandmother and there is no mention of his parents – this may bring up questions which
are not answered in the story.
• Although simple, the words are well chosen and offer more depth than you would expect at this reading level.
• The illustrations, done in black pencil and black watercolor wash, are integral to the story and fun to look at.

Sweet Book Summary:

We love Andy Shane here at Sweet on Books! These little books pack a lot of punch; they have amusing story lines, terrific characters and they are suspenseful (and simple) enough to keep your most reluctant readers interested. This installment has the added bonus of some much needed values and life-lessons, particularly at this time of the year of overzealous spending and gift-giving.

Andy lives with Granny Webb and together they celebrate their unbirthdays. Apparently, their birthdays fall at busy times of year, so they wait for a fall day when everything on the farm/orchard is done and they celebrate together. Let’s stop right there and discuss. They are so busy canning tomatoes, making jam and mowing the lawn that they actually wait to celebrate their birthdays? What? They don’t drop everything and plan a gigantic, expensive birthday party? It’s a nice message to give our children in this modern world where so much around them encourages instant gratification.

Andy can’t decide what to give Granny for her unbirthday, until he realizes she needs a case for her binoculars so they will be protected while they take walks in the woods. But Andy doesn’t have any money. He and his friend Dolores Starbuckle, plan a Barn Sale in order to raise the funds and head to all the neighbors to see if they have any junk they need to get rid of. The sale is a huge success and Andy is sure he will have the money for the case. But at the end of the sale, he and Dolores realize she has sold the binoculars!

The mystery of who bought the binoculars ensues with the culmination of Andy and Dolores at an antique shop where Andy buys back the binoculars. Then he doesn’t have enough money for the case, so he sells his bike to buy the case. When Granny Webb and Andy exchange gifts, Andy receives a new bike seat and horn for his bike from her. Oh no! Then, when Granny opens her gift, Andy urges her to get the binoculars to make sure they fit. But Granny sold the binoculars to pay for Andy’s present! It’s a modern day “Gift of the Maji” story in an early chapter book – brilliant! I just adore the message of selflessness it sends to a child.

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