Thursday, February 04, 2010

Mr. Barrington's Mysterious Trunk

A dizzy feeling came over Hannah. She watched helplessly as the threatening funnel spun around and around them like a top. As the smoke completely enveloped them,one last bang of thunder shook the school. The box she was holding crashed to the floor as Nick and Jackie vanished! All at once, everything turned black.Hannah was no longer in Mr. Barrington's classroom.

And the adventure begins...

We are reading a new series of books about Texas history which has us begging for "one more chapter" each day. The series, entitled Mr. Barrigton's Mysterious Trunk, is by award winning author Melodie A. Cuate. The four books in the series are: Journey to the Alamo, Journey to San Jacinto, Journey to Gonzales, and Journey to Goliad.

The story reminds me of the Magic Tree House series, but for older children. In the first book, best friends Hannah and Jackie have just started seventh grade and they have a new teacher, Mr. Barrington. He brings out a mysterious trunk and challenges them to "choose an event in Texas history and become part of it." When he opens the dusty trunk, it is full of books and magazines about Texas. After school that day, the two friends return to the classroom to look in the trunk. Hannah's brother, Nick, joins them and helps them to open the lock. When they look in the chest, it is now filled with memorabilia and figurines regarding the Alamo. Suddenly, there is a crash of thunder and a swirl of dust and the 3 children are transported back in time to the Alamo just days before that fateful battle.

As the children get to know the people of the Alamo fame, the reader learns the history of that important time in Texas independence history. You join the 3 children and become "part of" this historic event.

The second book, the one we are reading now, is about the Battle of San Jacinto where Texas wins its independence. In this book their teacher, Mr. Barrington, is missing. In order to help him, Hannah knows she must go back into time again. Mr. Barrington's niece, Ms. Barrington, joins the 3 children on this adventure.

The third book is titled Journey to Gonzales. In this book, Nick will go back in time to try and alter history and save a friend he met in San Jacinto. Meanwhile, the girls try to stop him from this mission of history alteration. But, they end up in a Mexican camp and learn about life in the Mexican army.

The final book (though I don't know if more will be published) is titled Journey to Goliad. This book is about the massacre at Goliad and I think I'll have to preread this one.

As you can tell, these are exciting, well-written books that teach a lot about Texas history. Even if you don't live in Texas, I think you and your children would find this series captivating and educational.

As an interesting side note, I went to Google Reader to search the posts. I know I read about these books on someone's blog. Anyway, I couldn't find where anyone had posted about them (though if any of you did, please let me know!), but I found a post I'd made about "Barrington." It was a post I'd titled "Birthplace of Texas." Two years ago, we went on a field trip with one of our homeschool groups and visited 3 places related to Texas history. One of them was a working historical farm called Barrington Farm.  Barrington Farm was the home of Dr. Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas. "Barrington" is named after his birthplace, Great Barrington Massachusetts. I wonder if this is just a coincidence?


live4evermom said...

Sounds interesting, I'll have to look into these. We should be in that time period by next month.

lahbluebonnet said...

I had Barrington Farm on our to do list but never made it out there. There's lots of things in Texas named after things in the East, since the original settlers to East Texas came from the East. I've posted about a lot of these "coincendences" too.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog. I'm glad that you and your family are enjoying the books! There is a free teaching supplement online at Texas Tech University Press in case you're interested. If you have any questions, please email me.

Best regards,

Melodie A. Cuate

Robin said...

Sweet! You got an author comment!
These books look perfect for Cade. What do you think? Do you think they'd be good for him? I don't want it to be too easy, but the material looks fascinating.

dstb said...

These look like interesting books. I found this link, but it is fairly old so, I am not sure these were the posts you were referring to. It is on the Young Texas Reader blog.

Page down to see the specific books.

I enjoy reading your posts. We live in the Northeast and don't have any plans to visit Texas right now, but reading about the Alamo would be interesting.


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