This was a nostalgic read – I checked this book from my school library when I was a kid and I couldn't remember the title or author and made a post on whatwasthatbook to find out what it was. I remember the cover having a picture of a girl with a bonnet and a pyramid, and I remember time travel and light falling in such a way to reveal something about why the pyramids were created, but that was it.
The Adventures of Holly Hobbie was based on the character called of "Holly Hobbie", a bonnet and rag-dress wearing girl named after her creator. In this story the Dutton family is in mourning after the disappearance and believed death of Melville Dutton, an archaeologist working to find a lost ancient city in Guatemala. His daughter Liz is still unconvinced that her father is dead and one night the ghost of another girl, Holly Hobbie, an ancestor living in a painting at her family's farm appears and agrees to help Liz. Through some cunning and adults who didn't seem *that* alarmed about the missing girls travelling on their own, Liz and Holly manage to travel from Massachusetts to New York to Washington D.C, and then to Mexico and Guatamala investigating what her father was working on and discovering who could be involved in his disappearance.
Overall: Despite this book being a bit dated (it has lots of color illustrations that have people in very old fashioned clothes), and the strangeness (Is this a more paranoid view we have now?) of two teenage girls with so much independance, it was a pretty good read. I know why I liked the book so much – it's the type of book that teaches you along with having an exciting story. While Holly and Liz went about their adventures the reader picks up information about history and the Maya. I learned a few things reading it. It felt like the writer Richard Dubelman really researched his subject and wanted kids to learn about the Maya culture. It did not feel dumbed down either, and it was refreshing to have two smart girls as heroines. I also noticed that the writer had a film background as a producer, and I thought to myself that the book does read as an 80's kids adventure movie, sort of like "Escape to Witch Mountain" or something, I could see it in my mind's eye complete with a predictable bad guy. Still, this held up surprisingly well to time, and while it has a young adult audience it was well written and educational. This book is out of print but used copies are available.