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Posted May 18, 2010
Chrisie Kimball is moving with her parents, older brother Neal, younger twin siblings, Parky (Patrick) and Perks (Patricia), cat Thai Shan, and dog Baron, to Arizona. Her dad lost his job back east, so the family is planning to take over an old stage-coach stop at Ten Mile Station and turn it into a motel since the new highway to a nearby national park will go near there.
Ten Mile comes with a resident caretaker, Layton (Pinto) Odell, two burros, Sheba and Solomon, and a baby donkey Jericho. Neal and Christie have a secret plan to transform the station into a tourist attraction that will make money for their father. There is also an old ghost town, Darringer, on the property as well. The Wildhorses, a Navaho family of four, live nearby, and one day the Kimball children go on a picnic with Toliver and Libby Wildhorse to find arrowheads and other Indian artifacts for their secret plan. Shan discovers a cave with a mysterious treasure chest. However, another neighbor, a rancher named Mr. Tomer, claims the land for its water rights and wants the Kimballs to leave. Will they lose the station? Will they have to give up the treasure?
This book has all the hallmarks of the kind of exciting adventure stories for young people that were popular when I was growing up--old tales of Indian attacks, a ghost stagecoach, lost treasure, a hidden valley, and a bad guy trying to steal the ranch. This book was a true page turner. Based on the two books of hers that I have read, I am surprised that Andre Norton was never up for a Newbery Medal. Maybe she came along just too late and did not use enough bad language. There is nothing objectionable here, other than some common euphemisms and a couple instances of tobacco use. Unfortunately, this book is out of print. There is a website dedicated to the work of the late Miss Norton