El Dorado Adventure, The

by Lloyd Alexander

Paperback, 1990



Call number

PB Ale

Call number

PB Ale

Local notes

PB Ale




Yearling (1990), Paperback, 176 pages


Traveling to Central America to inspect her real estate holdings, seventeen-year-old Vesper tries to stop a villain from building a canal which would destroy an Indian tribe's homeland.

Original publication date


Physical description

176 p.; 5.25 x 0.5 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member mabith
It's very difficult not to read these in one sitting. We're off again with Vesper Holly, a female amalgam of Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones. They books are narrated by her guardian, Brinnie, very much in the style of Sherlock Holmes, and set in the 1870s.

This one gets extra points for throwing
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in quite a bit of Spanish (and these were originally published before you had all the internet translators, and mostly before the vast majority of Americans had internet access), and for making a number of allusions to authors and real people that would not be part of the usual 9-13 year old's knowledge set (Rousseau, Simon Bolivar, and Adam Smith among others).

Alexander throws around 'civilized' and 'savage' a bit too much for me. While he also sometimes points out that these are false terms, often he doesn't. They may be set in the 1870s, but it's not like they're realistic books, exactly. There's also a bit of the white savior air to some of the books, though typically the rescuing goes back and forth a number of times between Vesper and her allies, and Vesper's role is often as a sort of intermediary.

This one was great in that Vesper and Acharro (and the chief of an indigenous tribe) don't cut each other any slack, and they call each other on their mistakes. This also deals with land rights, and while not a mirror of the building of the Panama canal, there are sort of parallels.
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LibraryThing member heidialice
Vesper Holly drags her only-somewhat reluctant guardian Brinnie to a fictional Central American country in the late 1800s. They empower the native people, get captured and toyed with by their arch-nemesis and scope out Holly's inherited volcano.

This series is still fun, but not nearly as cool as it
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seemed when I was a kid.
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LibraryThing member lola_leviathan
Vesper Holly is pretty much the best role model for a little girl ever. She's like Indiana Jones but a girl. And a redhead. Oh yeah.
LibraryThing member soraki
Vesper and her guardian Brinnie head to the Central American country of El Dorado in response to a mysterious telegram. In El Dorado, they encounter earthquakes, volcanoes, Gatling guns, and their old nemesis Desmond Helvitius. Will Vesper and Brinnie be able to escape with their lives? Will they
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ever see Philadelphia again?
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LibraryThing member ChrisRiesbeck
I read this right after Hopkinson's The Chaos, and it'd be hard to find two more dissimilar young adult books. Where Hopkinson slams straight into the modern world of a young black teen world, Alexander heads back to 1870 Philadelphia -- and then Central America -- to tell a story that would have
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been at home in the days of Tom Swift and Nancy Drew. Vesper Holly is the plucky, brilliant, main character, who discovers she has inherited a volcano. The story is told by her Watson-ish narrating uncle, who is steadfast and brave, but annoyingly credulous and traditional. I don't think Alexander knew how to write anything less than enjoyable, but this is definitely one of his lesser efforts.

Recommended for Alexander completists, or to pass a few hours.
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