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Like the other books, the solutions to the mysteries are hidden behind flaps at the end of the book.
- Author: Rick Walton
- Illustrator: Lauren Scheuer
- First Published: 2007
- Marie Cantu
- Noelle Dee
- Sage Matthews
- Rose James
- Faith Peterson
- Hope Harrison
- Brooke Pinnock
- Hailey Ferris
- Aunt Kristine
- Christ Cantu
- Nicholas Dee
The Sisterhood and the Traveling Aunt
Noelle is taking off her gardening gloves after planting her dad's favorite flowers. Her and her mother planned to plant the flowers now so they would bloom on her dad's birthday in September. Marie comes running in, announcing she and Noelle are going to Hawaii. She tells Noelle that her aunt will bring them along with her if they earn their half of the trip. It'll be a lot of work, but she and Noelle can do lots of odd jobs to raise the money. Noelle and Marie start celebrating, yelling "We're going to Hawaii!" and Noelle's younger brother, Nicholas, asks if that's where they're moving to instead of New England. Nicolas explains to Noelle that their family is going to move after school ends. Apparently, Nicolas had heard their parents talk about moving subjects, like a house in New England will be too small and they have a lot to do before they leave, like put the mail on hold and tell the neighbors they're leaving. Nicholas thinks that it's going to be a surprise and Noelle's parents are shopping right now so Noelle can't confirm. But Marie says "You did just fine, except for the part where you though your family was moving. Noelle, you'll still be my best friend, you'll still live next door, and we're still traveling to Hawaii!"
- Question: How did Marie know Noelle wasn't moving?
- Answer: "If they planned to move this summer, why would they plant flowers for Noelle's farther's birthday that wouldn't bloom until September? And people put mail on hold if they're planning to return. Noelle would be coming back—from a family vacation to New England."
Marie and Noelle find work quickly, their first job being to clean up a large historic home for it's summer opening. Mrs. Peterson, the owner of the home, tells the girls that her daughter, Gwen, will show them around as practice for tours while she checks on the cleaning materials. Gwen starts by showing Marie and Noelle the Great Hall. She flips on the lights, and the chandelier lights up. Gwen says that the owners would hold town meetings and banquets in here. Gwen points out a dragon's statue's crystal eyes, and shows them the dining room. She switches a light, which makes the china in the cabinet sparkle. Gwen says that this house is exactly as it was two hundred years ago. Gwen then shows the girls the cleaning supplies and Mrs. Peterson asks the girls how they liked the tour. Marie and Noelle say they enjoyed it, but Marie says that Gwen had an error in her tour script. Gwen is at first confused, then suddenly remembers that she forgot to change it and tells Marie good catch.
- Question: Exactly what did Marie catch?
- Answer: "The house wasn't exactly the way it had been two hundred years ago. It now had electric lights all over the place, which hadn't been invented then."
Stocks in a Box
On a May day, Noelle invites Marie to come over, saying that she found something interesting in her mom's diary. Noelle's mom let her read her old diary she kept as a kid as a way to become closer, and Noelle finds something that could bring them some money. When Marie comes over, Noelle shows the passage "July 24, Today's my 9th birthday. Mom and Dad took me to Lulu's for lunch. Grandpa gave me 10 shares of Honeysuckle stock (whatever that means). He said to put it someplace safe, so I put it in a tin and buried it where the church steeple pointed at two o' clock. Someday, when I'm older, I'll dig it up." Marie mentions that Honeysuckle is a big company now and the stocks could be worth a lot if Mrs. Dee hasn't dug it up yet. Marie and Noelle ask Mrs. Dee about it, who admits that she didn't remember that until now. She does say that if they find it, they can have half of the money for the trip. The girls and Noelle's parents go to Mrs. Dee's parents, where they ask to dig up the yard. Mrs. Dee doesn't have a clue where in the yard she buried it, but Noelle recalls the two o' clock clue in the diary. They wait until two and dig, but they don't find any signs of stock. Mrs. Dee mentions that she could of dug it up and forgot about it, but Marie realizes their mistake. She says if they had paid closer attention, they would have saved themselves a lot of work.
- Question: What was the detail the crew forgot?
- Answer: "The sun is not in the same place in July as it is in May, so the steeple shadow would be in a different spot. Rather than dig up the entire yard, the girls waited until July. After all, the stocks had already been buried for twenty-five years!"
Time to Shape Up
On the Friday morning after school was out for the summer, Marie and her friends are making summer plans. Noelle realizes just how soon it'll be before she and Marie will be in Hawaii. Marie and Noelle share their excitement, but Hope tells the girls that they'll be in lots of pain since they're so out of shape. Hope had been to Hawaii two years ago and knew how much fun the girls would have, but she tells Marie and Noelle that she ached after her first day in Hawaii because she wasn't in 'climb-to-the-top-of-a-tropical-mountain' shape. Marie agrees with Hope and wonders what they could do to get fit. Noelle suggests that they and all of their friends walk. All of the girls like the idea, and Noelle suggests they all have a sleepover at her house tomorrow where they'll wake up early to hike. The others moan they're not going to Hawaii, but Hope says they'll be supporting their friends. At 9 p.m., Noelle says it's time to go to bed so they can wake up early, but no one is tired. Marie suggests they play Scrabble and after four games, the girls are too tired to be able to wake up by themselves at 6 a.m. Hope suggests to set up an alarm and Marie notices the time is 1:36 a.m. The alarm blinks 12:00 at first, and Hope accidentally misses 6:00. She continues to press the button until it's back to six again. Noelle double checks the alarm will work and the gang goes to sleep. The next morning, Marie wakes up feeling refreshed. She notices she didn't wake up to an alarm and takes a look at the alarm: 10:14. Marie tells the other girls about the time. Noelle says her clock isn't broken and the power didn't go out during the night since her watch has the same time, so the girls tease that Hope was jealous and messed up the alarm. Hope swears she didn't do it on purpose. Marie tells Hope "It was you, Hope, but I doubt it happened because of jealousy."
- Question: What did Marie know?
- Answer: "When Hope set the alarm, she started the clock at a flashing 12:00 (midnight), passed the first 6 (6:00 am), and stopped at the second 6 (6:00 pm). Sleepy Hope never realized her mistake.
What a Character!
Brooke tells Marie and Noelle "You two owe me big-time!" as they gather up their gardening tools. Brooke's grandmother had a friend, Mrs. Allen, who needed some yard work done and promised to pay the girls well if they did a good job. Noelle jokes that she'll make up to Brooke by calling her when her dad wants her to mow the lawn. Noelle then gives a serious thank you to Brooke for letting her and Marie help. Brooke tells the two that if they do a good job, Mrs. Allen might ask them back every week. Mrs. Cantu asks the girls if they're almost ready and the girls pack the last of the tools into the car. As the girls buckle up, Mrs. Cantu asks Brooke the address. Brooke says "It's...oh...333 something." Mrs. Cantu grumbles and Brooke says to head down Ninth Avenue, suggesting she might recognize the street when she's there. Mrs. Cantu asks if Brooke remembers anything about the street name, and Brooke recalls it reminded her of a Children's book character. Mrs. Cantu can't recall any streets named after characters, and Brooke points out it was almost a character. Noelle begins to get stressed. Summer vacation is almost over, and Noelle is worried weather she and Marie will be able to raise the money in time. Marie lightens the mood, suggesting various street names that had famous book character names in it. Everyone shares an idea, but Brooke says none of them are it. They reach ninth, and they pass by the following signs: MOUNTAIN DR; RIVER ST; MEADOW LN; VALLEY RD; CLIFF RD; and ROCK AVE. Marie suddenly shouts stop. Mrs. Cantu steps on the brakes and asks what's wrong. Marie says "Turn around! I know where it is!"
- Question: Where is it?
- Answer: "CLIFFORD"
Incredible Ice Cream
It's an especially hot day, and Marie, Noelle, Hailey, and Hope are helping Mrs. Ferris sell vegetables and gifts at the market. Noelle complains about the heat and Mrs. Ferris says she wasn't expecting the weather to be so hot today. Noelle takes a drink from her water bottle, finishing it off. She offers to take everyone's water bottle for refilling and runs off. She comes back with her head wet and everyone laughs. Noelle explains that she stuck her head under the faucet and now she only needs an ice cream from the snack bar to cool herself down. An ice cream sandwich costs 3 dollars and Marie says that while it's tempting, buying an ice cream sandwich for everyone would take a huge chunk of their profits. The girls decided to have a lunch break and grab their lunch from the cooler. Afterwards, Mrs. Ferris offers to refill their bottles. Mrs. Ferris comes back later with the girl's bottles and a plastic bag with ice cream sandwiches. The girls cheer and Hope tells Mrs. Ferris that the ice cream probably ate up a lot of the profits and she didn't have to do this. Mrs. Ferris tells the girls not to worry, as she got these ice cream sandwiches from the store this morning and kept them in the back of her air-conditioned van. She just forgot about them until now. The girls are cooled down by the ice cream and get back to work fully refreshed. Marie whispers her thanks to Mrs. Ferris, saying she knew she got them from the snack stand. Mrs. Ferris tells Marie she and her friends deserved it, and adds that nothing slips by Marie.
- Question: Did it slip by you?
- Answer: "The girls had the cooler with them, so it wasn't in the car. And even an air-conditioned car wouldn't stay cool for long. The ice cream sandwiches would have melted in minutes in a van on a hot day."
What's for Dinner?
Marie is talking on the phone to Mrs. Lloyd, a mother who need a babysitter for her twins, Ethan and Ellen, this afternoon. She holds the phone for a second, asking her husband to take out the trash. She comes back, and tells Marie about the job. She'll leave out the kid's favorite toys and DVDs, put them to bed at eight, and if Noelle is free, she should come over to help. She mentions that she can't believe that she's going to a movie tonight when she has company the next day, but at least she had prepared the food already. She tells Marie that for dinner she'll prepare something and Marie can just microwave it. Marie and Noelle arrive as Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd leave in a rush. They play with the twins and when it's time to eat, they find four serving dishes in the fridge. One has roast beef, one with roast chicken, one with spaghetti and meatballs, and a casserole in the last one. Marie isn't sure which one is the dish made for them and all the dishes are cold. The kids don't know what their mom made and suggest they have sweets. Marie thinks if Mrs. Lloyd had said anything more about the dinner plans, and then she finally realizes how to find out which dish belongs to them.
- Question: How did Marie figure out what was for dinner?
- Answer: "Marie looked in the kitchen garbage. She remembered that Mrs. Lloyd had asked her husband to empty the trash before she said she would cook the girls a dinner and after she said she had already prepared the food for the guests. Marie found an empty spaghetti sauce jar and spaghetti package at the bottom of a nearly empty garbage can. So the girls and the twins happily ate the spaghetti."
A Yawn on the Lawn
Marie, Noelle, and Brooke all lament they should have gone to bed earlier as they're driven to Mrs. Allen's house. Mrs. Allen loved the work the girls did on her lawn the first time, so she hired them for the rest of the summer to do regular upkeep of her yard. When they arrive, Noelle says she'll mow the back yard, saying the noise will keep her awake. Brooke says she'll grab the leaf blower and remove the birdseed that falls onto her patio, also saying the noise will keep her awake. Marie says she'll weed the front garden as she hated the loud noise - even from the other side of the house. Marie starts to weed for twenty minutes or so and then takes a break. She recalls all the work she and her friends had to do at first on Mrs. Allen's yard. But now it just needed only minor upkeep. Marie decides to lie on the grass for a minute and after soaking in the silence, she falls asleep. She wakes up as her friends start joking that there aren't any princes around to wake her up. Noelle and Brooke start to playfully scold Marie, saying they've been working hard and nonstop while Marie was sleeping. They start to joke they should dock Marie's pay, but Marie tells her friends she knew her friends didn't work the entire time either.
- Question: How did Marie know she wasn't the only one who had taken a break?
- Answer: "Noelle and Brooke both said that they had worked nonstop, but when Marie lay down - even after working for nearly half an hour - she soaked in the silence. The other girls hadn't yet started the lawn mower or the leaf blower."
A Lemonade Stand and a Business Plan
The Gentle Pony
Shake, Rattle, and Roll Over
Pisa and Sew Does
Marie and Noelle are counting up their trip money, and they're delighted to find they're up to half way. They only have a month of summer left, so Marie points out they need to plan work between school. Mrs. Cantu comes in, saying she thinks the girls have a job from Mrs. Olson. She shows them the email she got from her: "I'd like to hire you on some day. All feature lunch. How's Pisa? And what about sew does? Let me know if you can come. Oh, could you bring your long more? And be sure to carry your work loves." The girls are stumped, and Noelle asks are they sure it's from Mrs. Olson. Marie says that her arthritis is so bad, she can't write on a computer. Mrs. Cantu suddenly remembers Mrs. Olson mentioning her son installing a program that would have her say something, and the program writes what she says - or what it thinks she says. Marie suddenly announces "That's it! Now it makes perfect sense!"
- Question: What was Mrs. Olson trying to say?
- Answer: "Mrs. Olson's new tool was software that let her dictate to a computer. But the computer only typed in what it "thought" it heard. What Mrs. Olson mean was: 'I'd like to hire you on Sunday. I'll feed you lunch. how's pizza? And what about sodas? Let me know if you can come. oh, could you bring your lawn mower? And be sure to carry your work gloves.'"
Here's a Tip
The Slogan Showdown
What's at Steak?
Sing Like a Bird
Treasure in a Bottle
Pizza and Paradise
It is the first day of school after Christmas break and Marie's and Noelle's trip to Hawaii. It's lunch time, and Marie decides to get a pizza with carrots and applesauce over a meatloaf with peas and a brownie. Marie takes a seat with her other friends Hope, Sage, Faith, Hailey, Brooke, Rose, and Noelle. Before Marie can eat, her friends ask about the trip. She and Noelle tell about how they found Joe's diamonds and Marie starts to tell about the deal Joe made with them. Noelle asks to talk to Marie in private, and questions Marie why is she telling them about Joe's deal. "Our friends are so jealous, they're ready to switch tables. How will they feel when they find out Joe's invited us back?" Marie assures Noelle that they'll be very happy when she explains. As Marie comes back, she notices her pizza is gone. When she asks who took it, Sage offers her meatloaf, but says to stay away from the brownie. Hope joins in, saying Marie can take a bite of her pizza, but no brownie. Marie then says that she has two announcements: First, that Joe has invited her and Noelle back again next year for free and she talked him into letting her friends come along as well, though they have to earn money for the flight. Her second announcement is "I know who took my pizza!" and she grabs her slice.
- Question: Who took Marie's pizza? And how did she know?
- Answer: "Marie knew that Hope had taken the pizza because she had a brownie on her plate, but the brownie had come with the meatloaf. So, while the other girls screamed in excitement and made dozens of plans for their Hawaiian trip, Marie ate every bit of her very cold, very delicious pizza."
- This is the first book that has all the mysteries connected in some way.