This is the last book in the Melendy Quartet, and it might be my favorite. As it follows Randy and Oliver Melendy on a mysterious scavenger hunt, this book shows well how the dynamics between younger siblings change as the older siblings go off and do their own things. I love watching the relationship between Randy and Oliver blossom as they work together to solve each clue. They each do things on their own, but still hold a strong loyalty to one another. I hope that my children do the same as they get older.
Speaking of my children, they love the scavenger hunt at the center of this book. All the while we were listening to this, they took turns making one another scavenger hunts and working together to make scavenger hunts for their dad.
They’ve not made any scavenger hunts for me. I’m not sure, but I suspect it’s because I am, in general, less fun than their dad. Not that I’m not fun, I just am less obviously and sillily fun than Dad. For example, I like the scavenger hunt in the story, but my favorite parts are the rambles Randy and Oliver take to try and figure out the clues. Graveyards, pokeberry groves, abandoned houses: the youngest Melendys find magic everywhere, and Elizabeth Enright does a brilliant job of sharing this magic with the reader (or at least with me).
I also love that Oliver and Randy make friends with cool adults. Mrs. Bishop pretty much rocks, with her crocheted doilies and her knowledge of wildcraft.
One star off because the ending was a little anticlimactic and because I’m going to have to be on the lookout for the next few months to make sure my kids don’t try to climb up the chimney.