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Whistler in the Dark

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An enlightening story that shows how single women helped settle the west, as Emma becomes a successful newspaper editor in uncharted territory.


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An enlightening story that shows how single women helped settle the west, as Emma becomes a successful newspaper editor in uncharted territory.

30 review for Whistler in the Dark

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sesana

    The actual mystery part didn't do much for me, but I loved reading about reform dress. The actual mystery part didn't do much for me, but I loved reading about reform dress.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Panda Incognito

    I found this American Girl History Mystery far more engaging than the first one that I read. This one tells the story of a girl and her Civil War widow mother moving out West to Colorado to begin a newspaper. Although the book's title references a whistler in the dark, this is really just a subplot, and the mystery revolves around who is sabotaging the newspaper and preventing it from getting off the ground, attracting new settlers, and saving the rudimentary, developing town. The different aspe I found this American Girl History Mystery far more engaging than the first one that I read. This one tells the story of a girl and her Civil War widow mother moving out West to Colorado to begin a newspaper. Although the book's title references a whistler in the dark, this is really just a subplot, and the mystery revolves around who is sabotaging the newspaper and preventing it from getting off the ground, attracting new settlers, and saving the rudimentary, developing town. The different aspects of the mystery kept me guessing, and the final twist was very satisfying. This book is full of interesting historical detail, and I enjoyed the main character's arc of learning to value her mother's independence instead of feeling embarrassed and angry with her for breaking social norms. This book educates readers about Dress Reform in the mid-1800s, and provides a realistic look into how different women viewed their femininity. The author handles these themes with nuance and historical sensitivity, and the tension between mother and daughter keeps the plot and themes personal in a way that drives the story. This is very well-written and interesting, and I am glad that I read it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    The year is 1867, and Margaret Henderson is a Civil War widow. She’s also a social reformer, who advocates rejecting floor-length dresses in favor of the Reform Dress (which is essentially a knee-length skirt with pants under it). She wants women to be more than ornaments—she wants them to work. She learned the newspaper trade from her husband before his death in the war, and she finally has her own shot when a tiny newspaper in the remote Colorado Territory hires her as editor. By contrast, her The year is 1867, and Margaret Henderson is a Civil War widow. She’s also a social reformer, who advocates rejecting floor-length dresses in favor of the Reform Dress (which is essentially a knee-length skirt with pants under it). She wants women to be more than ornaments—she wants them to work. She learned the newspaper trade from her husband before his death in the war, and she finally has her own shot when a tiny newspaper in the remote Colorado Territory hires her as editor. By contrast, her daughter Emma is perfectly happy to live her life as an ornament if it means she fits in. Unlike most YA heroines, she is the opposite of plucky: she prefers fashion to books, has zero adventurous spirit, and nurses a desperate desire to conform. In short, the idea of moving west to the Colorado wilderness from her Chicago home is firmly on her To Don’t List. But Emma nonetheless rallies and investigates the mystery of who’s trying to ruin the newspaper (and the new town) and even eventually ends up donning a Reform Dress of her own. A charming historical western YA, well-researched and pithy.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sadie Joy

    On the second read, and a few years later, this mystery still had me on my toes, leaning forwards, turning pages....For some reason, I didn't remember the mystery's plot or conclusion, so it was practically a brand new reading experience. That was fun. I loved it. Although the book wasn't exactly "perfect," the five stars will remain. That's what I would have given it a few years ago, and my opinion hasn't changed enough for me to want to knock off a star. :) (Recommended). On the second read, and a few years later, this mystery still had me on my toes, leaning forwards, turning pages....For some reason, I didn't remember the mystery's plot or conclusion, so it was practically a brand new reading experience. That was fun. I loved it. Although the book wasn't exactly "perfect," the five stars will remain. That's what I would have given it a few years ago, and my opinion hasn't changed enough for me to want to knock off a star. :) (Recommended).

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cate

    Great book! This book was awesome and I love the series! Can't wait to begin the next one. Great book! This book was awesome and I love the series! Can't wait to begin the next one.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kristi Clemow

    Not my favorite story - but interesting info on the Reform dress - never knew about that.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Hyeonjeong Lee

    - Personal reaction I like this book very much because of its historical background, "the Women's Dress Reform Movement:". When I took a world history class during middle school, I learned about this movement. Before taking it, I had not noticed that women's outfits could be a part of inequalities. However, after taking the class, I began to think more broadly about the gender equality. While reading this book, it reminds me of the history class as well as what I thought about the topic. As a tea - Personal reaction I like this book very much because of its historical background, "the Women's Dress Reform Movement:". When I took a world history class during middle school, I learned about this movement. Before taking it, I had not noticed that women's outfits could be a part of inequalities. However, after taking the class, I began to think more broadly about the gender equality. While reading this book, it reminds me of the history class as well as what I thought about the topic. As a teacher of young children, I want to make appropriate curriculums to help them develop "healthy" gender identity. - Purpose(s): I would read this book to fourth graders. - As fourth graders have developed cognitive and language capacities, they could understand this mystery book. - Students would be interested in this book because it covers mystery as well as historical background. - The main character, Emma, is embarrassed when her mother makes her a Reform Dress. I would ask students "How you would have felt if you'd lived in Emma's time? What choices would you have made?" - This story includes women's struggle to gain acceptance as serious participants in what was seen as a 'man's world. Children would learn different social perspective compared to current ones. - Emma's dad was killed in the Civil War. She was sad because of this. Children would feel the cruelties of war. By reading this historical fiction book, children would learn historical backgrounds and feel what people, living during the time, actually had to go through. - There is a small illustration at the beginning of each chapter. It would help children to expect the mood of the chapter. - Books are written in third person limited; only the main character's thoughts and perceptions are seen.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Crawford

    This is book 16 in the History Mysteries series, and is about 12-year-old Emma Henderson's adventure with her mother when, in 1967, they move to a tiny Colorado town to start a newspaper. There is apparently opposition to having a woman run a newspaper, as things go from nasty notes to destruction of the newpaper offices as someone is carrying out a plan to drive Emma and her mother out of the town. There are a couple of mysteries going on at the same time. First, of course, is the question of who This is book 16 in the History Mysteries series, and is about 12-year-old Emma Henderson's adventure with her mother when, in 1967, they move to a tiny Colorado town to start a newspaper. There is apparently opposition to having a woman run a newspaper, as things go from nasty notes to destruction of the newpaper offices as someone is carrying out a plan to drive Emma and her mother out of the town. There are a couple of mysteries going on at the same time. First, of course, is the question of who is trying to get rid of Emma and her mother. The second, though, is a strange whistler that Emma hears, someone who whistles a song that her father used to before he was killed in the Civil War. Emma doesn't know whether the person is a friend, or someone out to hurt her. The book also examines a good bit about just what kind of prejudice there was against women who, basically, tried to fulfill “a man's” job in the west. Women were expected to keep their place, and their place was in the home. The story is one of the best of the series, especially in that the mystery portion is stronger than it is in the usual novel in the series. The book, though, might be somewhat hard to find if the library doesn't have a copy.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    It's 1867. Twelve year old Emma Henderson is mortified when mother takes to wearing a Reform Dress - hideous bloomers! Worse mother has accepted a newspaper job in wild, far off Colorado Territory. But even Emma can't imagine just how badly things will go in Twin Pines. From the moment she and mother step off the stage coach, it's clear that someone doesn't want them there. I enjoyed reading this book very much, I love all the American Girl stories. It's a great book for ages 8 and up. It's 1867. Twelve year old Emma Henderson is mortified when mother takes to wearing a Reform Dress - hideous bloomers! Worse mother has accepted a newspaper job in wild, far off Colorado Territory. But even Emma can't imagine just how badly things will go in Twin Pines. From the moment she and mother step off the stage coach, it's clear that someone doesn't want them there. I enjoyed reading this book very much, I love all the American Girl stories. It's a great book for ages 8 and up.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Meadow Frisbie

    When Emma's mothter takes a position at a newspaper office, several threatening notes and mysterious whistles proves that some body doesn't want them to stay. The story line was good, but not as entertaining as the others in the series. When Emma's mothter takes a position at a newspaper office, several threatening notes and mysterious whistles proves that some body doesn't want them to stay. The story line was good, but not as entertaining as the others in the series.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Nice historical fiction. Quick read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Johnson

    1867, Civil War ended, Emma and her widowed mother are moving to a newly established town to start a newspaper. Women's issues, history, mystery. 1867, Civil War ended, Emma and her widowed mother are moving to a newly established town to start a newspaper. Women's issues, history, mystery.

  13. 4 out of 5

    J Allyn

  14. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rose

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anna Wolske

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bellak

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anna Crossan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Meghana

  20. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne Foy

  21. 4 out of 5

    Janice Chancey

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emme

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jill

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amelia Greene

  26. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  28. 5 out of 5

    Isabella

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mestiza Laque

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anne

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