Hicks right , who passed away in , with wife, Rachel.
There have been many young-adult adventure series published from the turn of the century to now, but up to and through the early s, the Stratemeyer Syndicate juggernaut, with its ever-updated incarnations of Tom Swift, the Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew, ruled the earth. The adventures of the Swift series in particular was just what kids at the beginning of the space and technology age craved, except for one thing.
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There was nothing flashy about Alvin. A regular kid in sneakers and jeans from Riverton, Indiana, he possessed a pluckiness and determination that was very attractive to preteen and young adolescent readers. While the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift competed in the adult world, in effect urging readers to grow up and join them, some young readers with healthy imaginations preferred to remain what they were—kids.
They wanted to interact in the adult world but on their own terms.
Alvin Fernald's Incredible Buried Treasure
Encyclopedia Brown, another young detective who started his career a few years after Alvin, possessed stone-cold deductive skills that were second to none, but he also had the personality of a Univac vacuum-tube computer. There was little for a kid to emulate, especially when his detecting skill was a result of reading the entire set of Encyclopedia Britannica. Lest any skeptic think that only the nostalgia of baby boomers keeps the series alive, the library tells a different story. I was writing to make Popular Mechanics a resource for inventors and thought I could use that background to write a boy into adventures and back out again.
Also under the influence of Alvin I constructed a spear gun using an enormous rubber band, an expandable curtain rod, and a length of dowel wood for the spear. My fifth grade teacher approved it as a prop in our school play, and it functioned so well that everybody in class tried to shoot somebody else with it until the teacher locked it up. Finally, when I realized that I liked the idea of inventing more than inventing itself, I quit, but I continued to enjoy the books.
And now there is a new book. Caleb eventually became a printer and settled in Riverton, Indiana. A dealer in antiquities comes upon the diary and asks Alvin to help him decode clues to the whereabouts of the priceless historical documents Caleb describes.
According to Morgan, the factors that keep Alvin Fernald alive are a combination of things. I wanted to pass on my favorite stories to my kids. Ask a son or daughter to help—Alvin Fernald rides again, and the entire family can get involved. He lives in McKinney, Texas. This article first appeared in Mystery Scene Summer Issue They have great insight into human character. Toggle Navigation. Moby Shinobi Ninja in the Kitchen.
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