Sunday, 28 February 2016

Apple Paperback Review: The Day the Fifth Grade Disappeared by Terri Fields

On select Sundays I will be reviewing some of the old Apple Paperback titles from my childhood. These titles were published, or republished by Scholastic during the 1980s & 1990s and were written and set in the United States. In Australia, these books were typically only available from libraries or could be ordered through catalogues that were distributed through primary schools. Most of these titles are now long out of print or have been updated and republished for later generations ...

All of class 5A has mysteriously disappeared apart from Julia, a smart girl with a keen interest in science and an active imagination. She runs to the office to tell the strict school principal, Mrs Flannery, but her journey is slowed by school rules and bureaucratic nonsense. The class returns and no one believes Julia, apart from her two best friends Lori and Jeff. Lori and Jeff help Julia solve the mystery, which they soon realise involved the mysterious new building next door that none of the children are allowed to visit. What is happening inside the building? And why does Mrs Flannery want to find out? Julia and her friends are determined to get to the bottom of the mystery ...

I can only recall this one vaguely from my childhood and it's original publication date (1992) suggests that it was probably one of the later books that I read (the books always seemed to take a while to come to Australia, and longer still before they were available for loan from the school library.) The story is fun enough, though as an adult reader it is somewhat difficult to believe that the government would set up a top-secret base next door to a school. 

All in all, good fun though.

A note on the author: Terri Fields was a school teacher and a prolific author of mass market fiction books for children. She wrote several books for the Apple Paperbacks imprint and also published a number of Sweet Dreams romances.