Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 05/01/2011 After moving to a small Arizona town, the Barker parents warn their sons to stay away from Superstition Mountain. Eleven-year old Simon, 10-year-old Henry, and 6-year-old Jack listen, but when their cat runs off in that direction, they follow her anyway. Feeling the mountain’s creepiness and finding several human skulls, they leave shaken but determined to find out why adults fear the place. After some research in town, they brave the mountain once more, along with a new friend, Delilah. The four children are clearly defined in terms of their personalities and physical traits, while several other characters are introduced but remain mysterious. Clearly, the mountain and the townspeople are guarding secrets as yet undisclosed. Readers may be disappointed that so little of the story takes place on the mountain, but Broach seems to be laying the groundwork for a series. And with the unusual setting, the lure of mystery and adventure, appealing pencil drawings, and a certain innocence reminiscent of the Boxcar Children series, this story should find a ready audience. - Copyright 2011 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2011 When the Barker family moves from Chicago to Superstition, Arizona, it’s not only the name of the town that gives Henry and his two brothers, Simon and Jack, the creeps. Superstition Mountain rises ominously behind their new house and radiates an eerie feel, and when the brothers follow their runaway cat into the rocky terrain of the mountain, they uncover a set of three human skulls-lined up perfectly in a row, as if they were guarding something in the nearby ravine. Upon their return home, the boys’ research leads them to even more disturbing details: over the years, dozens of men and women have gone missing on the mountain, and their remains, found later, indicated a violent end. Many of the vanished were searching for a rumored gold mine, a fact that living residents of the town remain close-lipped about. Based on the legends and historical events surrounding the real Superstition Mountain, this adventure mystery will certainly spark plenty of Wikipedia searches, but the story itself fails to really take off, offering a hodgepodge of facts and theories that never quite coalesce into a complete plotline. Much of the dialogue is dedicated to explaining the area’s various myths and ghost stories, so characters remain stilted and unexplored. Still, the mountain is genuinely creepy, and the appeal of its being real may be enough to please young readers looking for a thrill and a scare. KQG - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 07/01/2011 Gr 4–6—Superstition, AZ, is the new home of Simon, Henry, and Jack Barker. The family inherited a house from an adventurous relative, Hank Cormody, for whom Henry is named. The boys know they are not supposed to explore Superstition Mountain, but when their cat runs away, they chase her up the mountain. They feel its eerie, oppressive atmosphere even more when they discover three human skulls. With the help of Delilah Dunworthy, a girl in the neighborhood, the brothers begin to investigate the stories full of mysterious disappearances and lost gold mines. Determined to identify the skulls, the clue hunters head back up the mountain for another dangerous sortie. Henry finds some of his great-uncle Hank's bravery and begins to appreciate Delilah's contributions. The dialogue is functional and the characterizations are broad. But for the most part, this book is a series opener with the associated deficiencies. Many of the adults' motives seem unclear or mysterious. Children will be pleased by the mountain climbing and clue-finding aspects, but until the next books arrive, there is much they won't know about this fascinating setting and its secrets. Black-and-white pencil drawings augment the story.—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.