348B: Box hidden in hollow tree

This is a middle grade children’s mystery about a brother and a sister (I think) who find an old metal box in a hole in a tree. The box may have something to do with the Revolutionary War.

Thank you!

6 thoughts on “348B: Box hidden in hollow tree

  1. Lenona

    Any chance it’s Mystery in the Pirate Oak (1949) by Helen Fuller Orton? You can see the front and back cover, plus the table of contents, here:
    Trouble is, I don’t definitely remember anything about the war.
    Orton (1872-1955) wrote other juvenile mysteries and had a fondness for history. I seem to remember a description of the book that said, in part: “…Chad and Ellie want to solve the mystery. But they are warned: ‘If you come near this tree, you’ll wish you hadn’t!’ ”
    That scared ME away from reading it for years, but when I became an adult and realized it wasn’t going to be scary, I finally read it – and found it painfully prosaic. But then, children’s literature was still relatively new and awkward at that time. (It’s worth noting that in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1905 classic A Little Princess, 11-year-old Ermengarde looks aghast and says: “Does your papa send you books for a birthday present?…Why, he’s as bad as mine. Don’t open them, Sara.” The other girls also look disappointed. Why? Because, 115 years ago, those birthday books were very likely books written for ADULTS, not children!)

  2. Mary A Wernke

    This probably isn’t the book you are looking for, but try The Secret of the Old Post Box, by Dorothy Sterling, copyright 1960. It was sold by Scholastic as The Mystery of the Empty House.

  3. Lisa Houlihan

    Not a brother and sister and not the U.S. Revolutionary War, but a boy with an adult female friend (and others) solve an historical and political mystery and there are boxes and trees. It’s worth reading even if it’s not the book you hoped. Jane Curry, The Bassumtyte Treasure.

  4. Lee B

    I’ll put my vote in for Mystery in the Pirate Oak. Skimmed through it and no mention of any wars, the woman who left the silver box in the tree when she was a girl was leaving with her family to go west as a pioneer. 60 years later she returns to look for the box which isn’t found by the brother and sister main characters until lightning splits the tree and opens up a hollow that had grown over. The box held a picture of the woman’s brother and a letter with a rare postmaster’s stamp. The box had been brought from China by her grandfather, a sea captain.

    Haunted Mansion Mystery by Virginia Masterman-Smith also has a tree, and a treasure, and an early reference to a Revolutionary War quilt and money made after the Civil War, but the main characters are not brother and sister and there is no box.


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