"Jones, JEEP, Buck & Blue" is an enchanting collection of four elementary (pre-teen) level readers. The title of each book reflects the name of the volume's main character.
"Jones" is introduced in the first book in the series, and remains present throughout the remaining three books. Suzanna Jones is the endearing young daughter of a U.S. Army Soldier. Since it is typical practice for military personnel to refer to others by their last name, the doting father likes to call his little girl by her last name -- "Jones". Jones is a precocious and endearing character.
Jessica Blumenthal (Blue) is Jones" best friend. Blue is also an Army "brat" which means that both girls are accustomed to being relocated quite frequently by the military. This time, Blue and Jones find themselves being transplanted from Georgia all the way out to Wyoming. The strange new environment introduces them to very new and different people -- namely Buck and JEEP.
Buck is of Arapaho Indian descent, and is very wise in the ways of his people's practices and traditions, while JEEP (which is short for James Edward Eugene Parker) is intellectually wise beyond his years.
Each character has his or her distinctive and sometimes quirky personality, and each installment has its own little mystery for the group of friends to solve.
The dialogue and content are appropriate and entertaining for pre-teen readers. The innocence of youth is a delightful reminder even for the 'older' reader. The author's analogies are clever and sometimes hysterical. For instance: at one point, Jones feels as "invisible as a flu bug on a crumpled up tissue", or as "awkward as a whale in a soup bowl."
I also admired the light in which the author painted the Soldiers and their families in these heart-warming stories. For instance, Jones' maimed father is portrayed as brave, understanding, and charming -- especially with his young, little daughter. My heart swelled with pride in that character, because I knew that the fictional Lieutenant Colonel Jones was typical of the real thing. His persona was a prized addition to the first book.
Pre-teens readers will enjoy this series of adventures. Even as an adult, I found myself trying to solve the mysteries. This reading experience brought back very pleasant memories of my "Nancy Drew" days.
Reviewed by: Claudia Pemberton (2009)
It's already hard enough to be an Army brat, but when Jones' dad comes back from the war with parts missing, she has to come to terms with brand new challenges. And, to top it all off, her best friend, Blue has upsetting news about her own dad.
As the girls struggle to face life head-on, a mystery unfolds in the field. Bones. Are they baby bones? Can the girls' investigation reveal the secret? Will they have enough time to figure out the mystery before their lives are uprooted and forever changed?