Frankie and the Secret

Our rating: ***

Michael Sutherland has been jailed for life, but he claims that he hasn’t done anything wrong. The townspeople of Mansfield, however, believe the young man is guilty, all because his father was a barn-burner. When the jail catches on fire, Michael escapes to go back to Mansfield so he can prove that he was jailed unjustly. Frankie Frank, a mentally retarded man who is one of Michael’s only friends, knows the truth about Michael’s alleged crime. Unfortunately, he was told that it was a secret, and “Frankie don’t tell secrets.” Frankie can’t decide on what to do. Should he tell his secret? Or should he keep quiet?

Quite a book. The characters are realistic and the plot gets very exciting, especially at the end. There are some sad parts and some tense moments. The Younguns are, of course, the comic relief. I enjoyed this book very much, despite the fact that there is some language.

The Circus Escape

Our rating: ***

Terry Youngun thinks his father is unfair because he gives him work as punishment. Reverend Youngun finally comes to the end of his rope when Terry drives a car that they’re supposed to be taking care of. Terry is put to work picking his least favorite vegetable (carrots), and it doesn’t take long for him to run away with hoboes Railroad Jack and Skeeter, who have decided to follow Adam Cole’s Circus Freak Show. However, Adam Cole is not the nice guy he seems to be, and has certain crimes that he’d love to pin on Jack and Skeeter…

A page turner. Terry’s antics are great, and the ending is very exciting. You’ll laugh part of the way through, and be on the edge of your seat for the rest. Unfortunately, this book is out of print, but you might find it at your library.

The Younguns of Mansfield

Our rating: ***

Larry, Terry and Sherry Youngun are the children of Methodist minister Thomas Youngun. When a rabies epidemic hits Mansfield, Missouri, everyone is scared. Then Sherry is bitten by a rabid bat and must have medicine before it’s too late. Meanwhile, Terry and Larry are having trouble with a rich boy, Willie, who is doing mean things to the local packrat and then blaming the Younguns.

I always laugh when I read this book. The sequels are funny, too. The rabies part is probably too intense for younger readers, but luckily, The Younguns of Mansfield is good to read out loud. Unfortunately, this book is out of print, so you’ll have to buy it used.