Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
History’s Mysteries: The Chocolate Train Wreck is a historical adventure mystery for children, grades 4-6 written by Donna L. Martin and illustrated by Estella Hickman and Donna L. Martin. It was late September in Hamilton, New York where Abigail and her new best friend, Nathan, lived. Abigail was ready to carve her Jack-o-lantern; she already had the designs in her imagination, and Nathan was coming over with his pumpkin. They suddenly heard a train’s whistle blast, the squealing of emergency brakes, and a loud noise that sounded like wood being smashed. Abigail’s dad went to find out what happened and told the kids to stay put -- of course they just couldn’t. The sight that met their eyes was quite unbelievable. There was a train in Mr. Johnson’s vegetable garden. What was even more amazing was the cargo -- tons and tons of chocolate: candy bars, syrup, baking chips, and cocoa powder. But how did that train get there? Was it sabotage? Who was to blame? The FBI and police were asking questions, and Abigail and Nathan figured this was exactly the kind of case the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew would love to solve.
The author includes a historical account of the crash, Discussion Questions, a CTW Word Search puzzle, a list of interesting facts, coloring page and the recipe for Nana’s famous chocolate chip cookies. She also includes archival photos of the crashed train, including those open cars filled with chocolate goodies and a list of suggested readings. This series makes history fun and accessible for young readers, and The Chocolate Train Wreck is a consummate example. It is most highly recommended.