[Book Review] The Goose’s Gold (A to Z Mysteries, #7) by Ron Roy

G is for Gold…

Sun, sand–and sunken treasure? That’s what Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose discover when they go on vacation to Florida. An old ship has been found off the coast, and it’s full of gold! Two divers are collecting donations to bring up the loot. They’re promising to share whatever they find, but is this too good to be true? It’s up to Dink and his friends to get to the bottom of it! A brand-new map of the Florida coast and fun black-and-white drawings make The Goose’s Gold a must for kids who love mysteries!

Well, it’s finally happened. The A to Z Mysteries series’ “Free-Range Children” attitude breaks even my suspension of disbelief in The Goose’s Gold. In the novel, Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose are staying with Ruth Rose’s grandmother in Key West for their winter vacation (there are brief mentions of them celebrating Christmas and New Year there). And apparently Ruth Rose’s grandmother is just as lackadaisical about their safety as the other adults, as they are given free range of entire island. Hell, the entire Atlantic, for all their grandmother pays attention to where they spend their days.

Seriously, it’s absolutely inexcusable at this point. Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose get on a boat with two strange men–who, obviously, are later revealed to be the criminals behind the mystery–and the grandmother does not at any point voice concern for their safety or attempt to prevent or even discuss their extremely risky behavior. When they return to the men’s boat, they’re nearly drowned, for fuck’s sake, and afterward the grandmother thanks them for their actions. Yes, they did save everyone a shit-ton of money and help catch a pair of con artists, but they also escaped death by seconds and could have fallen prey to any number of other crimes. They are going out of their way to chase criminals in each book, after all!

So, while I do highly recommend the series–it’s tons of fun, it’s a great way to introduce children to mysteries and/or chapter books, it’s well-written and wonderfully illustrated, etcetera–you’re definitely going to want to take a moment to double-check whether or not your kid understands basic safety precautions.

“Don’t chase criminals onto boats” is a great place to start.

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