This is an outstanding book by the same author as By The Great Horn Spoon!, which I reviewed a couple of years ago. That book involved the California Gold Rush. I'd read it many times as a kid, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it to my eldest boy, Dave.
The only other book of Fleischman's that I'd read as a kid was this one, Mr. Mysterious & Company. It takes place in the 1880's and concerns the Hackett family, who are migrating from somewhere in the Mid-West to San Diego, where Mr. Hackett's brother has a cattle ranch. In addition to knowing cattle Mr. Hackett is also a consummate magician, and as book begins the Hackett family is traveling westward through Texas, paying their way by giving magic shows in each town they visit. Mr. Hackett performs as Mr. Mysterious, his wife plays the piano, and each of their three children has a part. And on the way to California the Hacketts buy a dog, meet an outlaw, drive off a band of Indians, and save a town from ruffians.
It's a fun adventure, and the highest praise I can give it is this: the night after we finished it, David wanted me to read it to him over again. I declined, though honestly I don't think I would minded all that much.
I don't know why I never looked up Fleischman's other books when I was a kid; I rather expect I'll be doing so over the next few years.Posted by Will Duquette at September 12, 2004 05:05 PM