Summer holiday turns into an adventure for the three Nicholl sisters when Mr. Gilbert Chesterton and his wife come to town. Eleven-year-old Clare hopes to write a detective story. Eight-year old Cece wants to be a champion roller-skater. And ten-year-old Joan just wants to learn how to play the locked piano in the family living room. As they befriend the Chestertons, skating accidents, surprising friendships, puppet shows, and mystery solving ensue! Based on the real-life friendship of the great British writer and a trio of sisters. Adventures and fun!
by Nancy Carpentier Brown with Regina Doman
illustrated by Ann Kissane Engelhart
130 pp.Illustrated chapter book
Perfect for 8-10 year old readers!
The Chestertons and the Golden Key is not only a charming story with delightful illustrations, it's also a reminder to dream big and to love lavishly. Through the prism of a child's viewpoint, we discover the wonderful world of G.K. Chesterton and consider the "keys" to unlocking our own imaginations. Highly recommend for young readers and grown ups alike!
-- Lisa M. Hendey, Founder of CatholicMom.com and author of the Chime Travelers fiction series for Catholic children
A book that bubbles with excitement, perfectly capturing the infectious joy of coming face-to-face with the larger-than-life G.K. Chesterton.
-- Dale Ahlquist President, American Chesterton Society
Nancy, a few weeks ago I saw that you had published The Chestertons and the Golden Key. I decided to order a copy, but then paused; knowing the quality of your previous volumes on Frances, I ordered several copies.
They will not be the last I will obtain and distribute to my family and young friends. Firstly; the idea of making a book for children from the episode of the Nicholl family was brilliant -verging on genius. Secondly; few youngsters seeing the title and the splendid, intriguing illustration on the front cover could resist wanting to read and possess it. Thirdly, you have written a really great narrative which is both creative and true to fact. Fourthly; the book production, with the large and elegant typeface (which I ought to be able to name!) is captivating. Fifthly (and, you will be relieved to learn, lastly) yet one more radiant idea was to have the internal illustrations done as though they were drawn by the girls to illustrate their own tale of how they met and became friends with Gilbert and Frances --although we are fully aware of the skill and sensitivity of them.
I promised you that my last point would be the last, but you, Nancy, know what a liar I am. One aspect which may not yet have struck you is that this small volume is very probably going to introduce many, many young people to the writing and thought of G.K.C. -- Aidan Mackey, author of G. K. Chesterton: A Prophet for the 21st Century
Posted by Stacie on 7th Jul 2016
The Chestertons and the Golden Key is a mystery story centered around a loving family, and it's filled with wholesome shenanigans. The illustrations are also charming, especially the portrait page near the beginning that helps introduce the main characters. I enjoyed reading this story, and I loved that there were plenty of period details to set the scenes and keep the writing engaging. I did have to explain to my kids a little more about the uses of the Golden Key since they have had no experience at all with those items.
The kids all agreed that this story was more believable than other child-centered mysteries they have read (like The Boxcar Children series). Of course that makes sense, since this is based on a real family who met the Chestertons.
Four of my kids read this book. Here are their impressions:
9yo: I liked this book because I like mysteries. My favorite character was Clare, but I think it would be fun to have a dog like Pepper. Putting on a puppet play with the Chestertons sounded like fun.
11yo: Clare was my favorite, too! I knew what she was talking about because I've read The Blue Cross*, and I know who the Chestertons were so that made it more interesting. I thought it was funny that Mr. Chesterton was compared to a jolly, fat elephant. It was exciting when Cece and Will had to cooperate to get to the train station.
13yo: It was hard to put down so I read it all at once. I didn't stop to think about figuring it out, I just enjoyed the story. Pepper the dog was my favorite character, but it was interesting to learn something new about Mr. Chesterton and his dangerous writing methods!
17yo: I know a lot about GK Chesterton already, so the story didn't really surprise me. I also figured out the mystery right away, but it was fun to read and I can see why the younger kids liked it.
*From Nancy Brown's The Father Brown Reader: Stories from Chesterton.