It is spring vacation and Rebecca is excited to spend the whole week with her best friend, Ana. But things begin going wrong as soon as Rebecca arrives. The weeds in Ana’s new garden disappear by themselves, but then so do Ana’s old, worn-out tools. “Perhaps there is an ancient sprite at work, taking care of your garden for you?” suggests Mr. Tanaka, Ana’s friendly neighbor. He offers to let the girls help him in the large Japanese Garden where he works as caretaker. The girls jump at the offer and accompany him and his wife to the garden the very next morning. Rebecca marvels at the garden’s beauty but finds out that all is not as perfect as it appears to be. Things have been going wrong in the garden, giving Mr. Tanaka, and now the girls, many things to fix. But it seems that every time Rebecca and Ana take care of one problem, another one surfaces, and this time, the girls are being blamed for the mishaps. Rebecca realizes it is up to her to figure out who is really damaging things in the garden. To clear their names, Rebecca and Ana must uncover the real culprits before the girls are banished from the garden for good.
A Growing Suspicion is part of the American Girl™ series. Along with a captivating mystery, readers will find a sprinkling of Yiddish and Japanese words throughout the story bringing both cultures to life, as well as a brief history at the end teaching about how children’s gardens and Japanese gardens came to the city of Brooklyn. A Growing Suspicion is an excellent middle-grade mystery that girls ages 8 – 12 will enjoy reading.
Marcia Berneger is a retired teacher who lives with her husband and three crazy dogs. She taught both first and second grade, as well as special education. She currently teaches Torah school, in addition to her volunteer work in classrooms, libraries, and with various fundraisers. She lives in San Diego.