I guess I’m feeling a little nostalgic right now. This must be the reason I’ve sort of gotten fixated about some of the old mystery series that started us on our way to Cozies. We’ve already talked about Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden, so today I thought we’d talk about The Bobbsey Twins. This series is arguably less “mystery” focused than many of these largely detective novels, but one that I’m sure still has a place in many of our childhoods. The Bobbsey Twins were two pairs of twins >>> older twins Nan and Bert, and younger twins Freddie and Flossie, and they could be more accurately described as adventure books aimed at younger readers rather than always being mysteries.
I’m sure that when I read some of these books, I didn’t know the Bobbsey Twins series was created by Edward Stratemeyer, head and founder of the Stratemeyer Syndicate. This group produced many mystery series intended for children and teenagers. Other Stratemeyer creations included Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Tom Swift (among many others.) However, the Bobbsey Twins were a much earlier creation of Edward Stratemeyer, before the formula had truly been developed.
The first Bobbsey Twins book, released in 1904, was titled The Bobbsey Twins: Merry Days Indoors and Out. It wasn’t a mystery, and it set the tone for much of the early series. Originally, the Bobbsey Twins novels weren’t detective plots at all. Over the years, the series began to see increasing influence from other popular series of the time, including the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Trixie Belden. That said, when crime did make an appearance in the Bobbsey Twins, it tended to be a bit softer than in other similar detective series, and some books would still lack any sort of crime elements. (OK, I have to admit that I did a little research here. I sort of remembered all of them as being mysteries…)
The earlier books seemed to be a place where Stratemeyer honed his craft. Some of the earlier Bobbsey Twin books would see the twins set going from eight and four in the first book, then nearly nine and almost five… then eventually the older twins skipped up to 12 while the younger pair were six. The twins’ ages seemed to bounce all over the place, making them older too fast. Finally, it seemed like Stratemeyer decided the twins’ ages should sort of stop progressing, when the producers likely realized they were aging the characters too quickly.
This is also the ages that the Bobbsey Twins would be in later revisions of the original novels, the first set of which began seeing release in the 1960s. These changes would include both technological change (removing horse and buggy and inserting cars, for example), as well as social change (such as the portrayal of the African-American characters in the series). The names were also generally changed, as names like The Bobbsey Twins in the Country and The Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore might be accurate, but weren’t particularly attention-grabbing. The content of the books also supposedly changed a bit, and some books weren’t re-released at all. (That’s right! Go check your attics and see if you may have one or two of the non-released books!)
As with other Stretemeyer hit series, the Bobbsey Twins were written under a pseudonym (in this case Laura Lee Hope, a name also attributed to several smaller, less successful series in the 1910s and 20s). So, determining the exact author for each book is a bit difficult. Regardless of who wrote them, they were certainly successful >>> there were over a hundred books written in the series, and for many years the series was the longest Stratemeyer published novel series (though it was eventually overtaken by both the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew). Regardless of whether or not they were truly mysteries, they were definitely an important part of pop culture, and are remembered with fondness by those who grew up with them.
There are almost ten FREE Bobbsey Twin Kindle books. (Just click on this link and it will take you to the correct page.) You may not want to read them again, but you might know a little one who would enjoy them…
Did you happen to be a Bobbsey Twins’ fan? If so, would you please drop us a comment and share your memories? Thanks!