Hardy Boys Mysteries & other kids' classics

44 posts in this topic

Posted

I [vaguely] recall my older brothers reading the Hardy Boys mystery books, back in the 60s/70s. They were American classics. My 6 year old son is currently obsessed with the "Goosebumps" series of books at school, and I'm a bit concerned that they might too scary for his age, even though he assures me they're not. They are geared at tweens. [Yes, he is reading chapter books all by himself already, so I'm not fully abreast of the content.]

Any of you 'older' TT males remember the Hardy Boys? I probably spent more time reading Nancy Drew mysteries, haha. Should I go for it and buy a set on eBay for Jr? Apparently they have been updated to better suit modern sensibilities. Were these books loaded with racial stereotypes and whatnot? I ask, because I tend to prefer the originals. :) thanks

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Posted

I loved them. Them and Biggles. Don´t know what that says about me. I found with my older two sons that they just didn´t get into them. Time moves on, so they say. Would definitely give it a try, though. Might be surprised. As for racial stereotypes, can´t recall any and I seem to remember that the Hardy Boys were as much about instilling morals and tolerance as they were about adventure. That said, the age I was reading them at, I probably would have thought racial stereotyping was a very cool spaceship from Star Wars...

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Posted

I loved my uncles' Tom Swift books, but they were full of slurs and stereotypes. Ditto The Bobbsey Twins. The writing stable that produced them - which included Nancy Drew - wasn't writing for a diverse community. I ordered books from a set my aunt had, and discovered really hard-core racial attitudes in a group of Southern girls, books written in the 1930s. I think you take a chance ordering these older books. If you're willing to reach each book before handing it down and if you're willing to wait until Jr is significantly older (by which time he may be bored), I'd pass them up.

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Oh, I read the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. I also got two Cherry Ames (the nurse series) from an old neighbour along with one Shirley Flight book.

I read anything and the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew were in Llandudno Town Library, where I went every Saturday morning.

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Posted

I did read some of the Hardy Boys' books; unfortunately, my local library only had a few. Not even sure if more than a few had been translated into Dutch at that time (if now). I remember them as very much my cup of tea.

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Posted

I was a big fan of the Hardy Boys. I'd certainly recommend it to a youngster.

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Posted

I read all the Hardy Boys. So do the updated books have them running around with iPhones?

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I loved the Hardy boy and Nancy Drew along with all Enid Blyton books,Famous Five and the Secret Seven books. My kids never picked up on that trend but went straight to Goosebumps. I was just happy they were reading at all...Video games and tv took over sadly, my daughter reads a bit but not my son sadly :(

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I loved the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew (I even vaguely remember reading a book that had both Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys in it) as well as all the Enid Blyton ones too, Famous Five (but only the original 21 books, the new adventures of the Famous Five that they brought out in the early 90s were rubbish), Secret Seven, Five Find-Outers, the Adventure books. And The Three Investigators, which I thought were by Alfred Hitchcock but wikipedia tells me I'm wrong - interesting to read there that they were really popular in Germany and there were even lots written by German writers for the market here.

Sorry, have no idea what's considered suitable for a 6 year old boy to read these days but I reckon I probably started reading most of the above around that age, certainly by 7 or 8. The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and Three Investigators would have been a bit later, probably around 10 but not really sure why - think I just hadn't heard of them before that.

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Posted

I read all the Hardy Boys. So do the updated books have them running around with iPhones?

OK, I'm going for it. The complete set! Published between the 50s and 70s. According to Amazon comments, the newer editions are dumbed down. Many echoed this sentiment:

"Just pick up an older edition say 1950's and compare the same story with a brand new copy, the difference in the vocabulary choices jump out at you. It is as though the publishers of the newer books do not believe kids can understand any words greater than one or two syllables. "

The GerMan is crabby about this purchase, but I tend to override him on decisions regarding education. B)

Thanks, everyone, for the comments. Jr just finished another Goosebumps book in a matter of hours, and I like the peace & quiet this gives me, har-de-har-har. I'm sure the set will be well worth the money!

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Posted

Oh! Oh! The Boxcar Children! While the mysteries may have been far inferior, nothing compares to the thrill of living vicariously through kids who reside in their own private renovated railway car, complete with swimming pool. They are cheerful, industrious, and orphaned. The best!

Be warned, though - I also really, really loved the Series of Unfortunate Events, which also features orphans, but is subversive as hell. Although maybe that's why I, as an eleven-year-old, loved it.

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Posted

I loved the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew both. During the same period I also read and re-read Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn and loved 'em (although they would be very dated now, especially Huck Finn with all the (fairly derogatory) talk about Injuns). Tom Sawyer at the least would be worth a look.

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Posted

No Injuns in Tom Sawyer? Hmm?

Oops, sorry, Injun Jim is a half-breed.

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Posted

I read a lot of the old Nancy Drews, Hardy Boys and Boxcar Children. They had no racial stereotypes that I can recall ( mostly because there were only white people in the books). I remember them to be vaguely sexist sometimes, especially the Boxcar Children.

I used to read Choose Your Own Adventures books a lot when I was a kid. You'd get to points in the book where you'd need to make a decision and then flip to another page to continue. It was like 5 books in one.

I also read Goosebumps and they really weren't scary, they were made for kids who were 8 or so. They are more action/suspense, and no thinking involved. Not a book which presents a mystery to solve like the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and the Boxcar Children.

I remember the ones where the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew got together! Nancy and Frank Hardy kissed in one of them!

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Posted

Love the Hardy Boys books, Used to read them a lot, and always kept me entertained when it was too hot to go out to play. Also remember reading this one book series, but cant remember the name, all I know is that they had a dog, and they were a bunch of kids. Also Yes I have to admit it, I read Sweet Valley High. I just loved reading and my sisters would always get them from the Library.

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I think you're talking about the Boxcar Children. Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny, and their dog Watch. And Grandfather. I read almost all of them. It used to annoy me though that Henry and Benny got to just play, Grandfather sat around, and Violet and Jessie had to cook and clean after all of them.

I used to like Sweet Valley High also. And the Babysitters Club :)

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Posted

I half envy your son, and also think I was a little luckier. I envy him for having a whole series ahead of him, which at six is probably perfect because he's going to be looking at their adventurous side, and not parsing for sexist and racist text. That said, it's a whole new world in schools today.

Where I think I had it better was that I used to go to the bookshop with my dad on a Saturday once a month or so, and got to pick out a nice shiny new book with him every time. Books of course were a heck of a lot cheaper then, I think because more people read and because publishing houses weren't paying such huge advances to new writers.

But, overall, he is a very lucky young boy, I think!

(I read my brother's HB, but preferred collecting my own ND.)

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I also adored the Willard Price series. My friend Helen had the whole set so I borrowed them all from her. I've recently found a few second-hand copies and bought some new ones from Amazon for a boy I know. I found them terribly exciting. For someone in North Wales, they were a way to escape into a more exciting world.

Then... I found Gerald Durrell. Marvellous. I would love to go back to that stage in my life so I could re-live the books all over again. I recently re-read the Bafut Beagles and the one set in South America and it was like time travel. I don't think that world exists any more. So sad.

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I also adored the Willard Price series.

Thank you! I have been racking my brains trying to remember that name since yesterday. I knew it started with 'W' and could even picture some of the covers and remember things that happened in the books but I just couldn't get at enough to even attempt a google search. Great books.

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Posted

I was a biiiig Hardy Boys fan myself! :) So much so, that even after a gap of 14-15 years, I still can vividly recall the characters such as the clumsy Chet Morton, his sister Iola seeing whom Joe Hardy got butterflies in his stomach! :D

Luckily for me, I had a "special" access to our school library as my mum was a teacher in the school. I guess I made the best use of it, by finishing simply all the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.

Going back to further childhood days, I think I must've also devoured at least 5 dozens of Enid Blyton's.

I know that times have changed quite swiftly, so I am not very sure but for your little one, maybe beginning with The Famous Five, The Five Find Outers, The Barney Mysteries or any of the vast collection from Blyton may nicely bridge Hardy Boys, who I believe are much more suitable for pre-teens/teens.

As for racial seterotypes, I don't really recall anything in any of these books... at least, anything that would be beyond the subtlety levels of a typical teenager.

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I read many of the Hardy Boys books, and found them enjoyable. The earliest ones were probably the best, and their plots were suspenseful and good, and no doubt would develop a kid into a mystery story fan. I once read an article about the author of these books, and I think they were actually subsidized by the publisher or somebody like that...not the creations of an inspired writer per se.

I don't recall any racist stereotypes in them, or even members of other races. There is a sort of a "law and order" establishment bias to them, the product no doubt of 1930's sensibilities when crime was glorified in some quarters, and they might have been written to counter such glorification of folks like John Dillenger etc.

Some folks who are especially sensitive to sexual stereotypes might find: "Girls are all right...in their place", to be too much to bear. But I think most elementary shcool boys, the target readership for these books, come to this conclusion without the help of any outside influences.

Any books which attract a young kid to regular reading and which are not grossly objectionable are well worth the investment.

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Thank you, everyone, for your input. The full series arrived today, and my 6 year old is already pouring over the 1st book. I won them on eBay, as I wanted the originals rather than the 'dumbed-down' newer publications.

I will look into the other books that were mentioned on this thread. Cheers!

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I read the Hardy boys when I was a kid and pretty much everything else I could get my hands on including all of Enid Blyton, the Bob Moran books (those were a lot scarier than the Hardy boys) and even some series of 20 books or something that my mother had that was about a girl detective called Beverly Gray. I think the Hardy boys will be a great start for him.

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