Lily: We find ourselves with the Alden kids going on vacation yet again. Jessie told Henry that she believed their grandpa was up to something because he was extra happy, and sometimes, when he would be playing with Benny, he just laughed and laughed.
Lorraine: My first guess would’ve been that grandpa was getting a little dimentia-y, but you know, vacation explains it, I guess.
Lily: Grandpa $-Bags sets up a visit to the South Seas for the kids. He was did this with his friend Lars Larsen, who was a sailor and was very familiar with the area. The kids overhear their grandpa’s plan – because they’re always eavesdropping and come barging in. “OMG Grandpa, we’re going on vacation?!”
Lor: Uh, that would be the point where I’d be all, “damn it you nosy bastards. Vacation cancelled.” Clearly I’m going to be the best grandma EVER.
Lily: The older kids are worried about missing school, but Benny wasn’t. Grandpa $-Bags tells them he has to do some business in San Francisco, so they are all going to travel while he is there. The plan is for them to go to Chicago and pick up their friend Mike, and then fly to San Fran and then sail to the beautiful island that is apparently NOT Tahiti. And, apparently, Granpa $-Bags has already informed their teachers that they’ll be gone for a while. And the teachers already prepared books for them to study while their on the island.
Lor: These kids sure spend a lot of time on islands. I guess for creating a faux-hobo experience, an island is where it’s at?
Lily: If that’s the case, I wouldn’t mind being a hobo in Hawaii.
On the ship, the Sea Star, they have their own little school. They have individual lessons that they all participate in. They apparently took a microscope with them so that they could all see algae and tiny fish with it. In Violet’s book, they learn about Captain Cook who invented vitamin C accidently.
After sailing for awhile, they come to their beautiful island. They find a few huts on the beach. They are in bad shape so the kids and Lars find long ferns to fix the roofs so that they can sleep in the huts while they’re on the island. They find some bananas, and Benny’s all like banana! I NEED one! Grandpa $-Bags says fine have ONE only, we’ll have dinner soon. Jessie then says, what are we having for dinner? I didn’t know I was SOOO hungry. Jessie, you’re having beans. Forever.
Jessie, you’re an idiot. How do you NOT know how hungry you are?
Lor: I’d like to stand up for Jessie and say this has happened to me, but mostly that has happened to me, mid bite. Like… as it becomes clear that I’m going to eat the entire damn plate and possibly more, I might have a moment of thinking “I didn’t know I was so hungry!” I don’t think it’s the same thing.
Lily: DUN DUN DUN – the mystery begins! When the kids, Lars and G-pa $-Bags wake up, they discover that a box of sea biscuit is open. Benny blames Mike, but Mike says nu-uh, it wasn’t me! They stop blaming each other and go on to explore the island. As their exploring, they realize that there are unripe coconuts on the ground. The area that they’re finding them in is too dark to have coconuts falling from the trees.
Lor: WHAT? What’s happening here and why do these children know about the laws of coconuts?
Lily: When you’re a millionaire, you just know these things. Like, as soon as your bank account hits $1M, this knowledge just pops into your head.
They come across some tide pools and Benny sees that there’s a colorful pattern on the sand. Alternating stones of red, white, and blue. The party begins to think SOMEONE’S ON THE ISLAND!
The clues just add up! The kids and adults go fishing so that they can make fish stew for dinner, because it’s G-Pa $-Bag’s favorite dish. When they’re gutting their fish, Benny finds that it ate a button. Everyone begins to examine the button and determine that it’s new and American. While they’re looking at the button, someone says Hello Peter! It’s just a bird… but someone had to teach it that, right?
Lor: Seriously, how do these kids know so much about coconut and button logistics, but it takes them so damn long to realize that yes, someone is on the island.
Lily: After dinner, they all go walking along the beach. They come across a green bay and Lars explained to everyone that that was a reef. And that sharks cannot get through because there was no opening. They all go inside and start swimming. Henry then yells out look a boat! There was a boat on the beach. Everyone starts walking towards the boat and a LOUD whine starts coming from the trees.
Lor: Some should explain to these kids that if they are seriously going to mystery solvers, they should do a little less just hanging out and relaxing after hearing strange noises and making big discoveries.
Lily: The next day, the kids explored the island some more. They came across a cave that reminded them of the boxcar they used to live in.
Peter tells him that a person lives there, not a monkey. Benny asks him if he’s a boy or a girl, Peter says he’s a boy, but Benny being a smartass says well you look like a girl because you have long hair. Peter reaches for Benny’s hand to get him free, Benny notes that Peter’s hand isn’t soft like a girls, but rough like a dog’s paw.
Lor: OH MY GOD. Imagine if you came across a child in a net, and they were all: you look like a [not your sex] and you have a dog’s paw. YOU WOULD LEAVE THAT CHILD IN THE NET, RIGHT?
Just making sure.
Lily: I almost fell off my chair laughing at that!
The rest of the kids are frantically looking for Benny. Poor kid. He’s always stuck in a pickle. Benny comes out of the cave like nothing happened along with Peter. He introduces Peter to the rest of the kids and is like This is Peter, he ate our sea biscuit! But Peter apologizes for being a douche. Peter explains that he has been on the island for almost 7 months! He was there with Mr. Anderson, who was with him on the lifeboat. But, Mr. Anderson took a dip in the ocean and never came back.
So… why wasn’t Peter all, “hey other humans. I survived a shipwreck?” instead of hiding in caves and stealing their food? Maybe he stole the food before he realized how hungry he was.
Lily: You’d think that at least he would say something …
The kids take Peter back to the adults. Where they begin talk about about him. Peter tells them that he is from Boston. They tell him that they can take him home when the return to the States. Grandpa $-Bags asks him about his parents. Peter tells him that his father’s name is also Peter, Peter Horn. Grandpa $-Bags breaks the news to him that his parents might not be alive since they were on the ship too. Benny offers to adopt him.
They all board the Sea Star. Grandpa $-Bags gets an idea to look for Peter’s parents while they’re on their way back to San Francisco. And because these books never have a sad ending, he finds Peter’s parents and they meet them in San Francisco when the Sea Star gets there. They all live happily ever after. In Boston.
Lor: Did you think these “mysteries” couldn’t get any lamer?
Aw. How cute.