The book I just finished reading though is "Aunt Jane's Nieces and Uncle John". Originally published in 1911 by Reilly & Britton Company of Chicago is just an absolutely delightful story.
The book measures 7 1/2 by 5 1/4 and is 275 pages in length. My edition from my E-bay win is a First Edition Second Printing, which basically means the only Aunt Jane's books advertised are the current ones published at that time and at the end of the book there is a "small boxed blurb" about the volumes of this delightful series. This book originally sold at sixty cents.
This story deals with Uncle John Patsy and Beth going cross country in a motor car for part of the trip to California--the land of sunshine and roses as it is described in the book. Niece Louise has married her beau from the European vacation and is on her honeymoon so she is absent from this story. Although Van Dyne/Baum includes two brand new characters who are just as intriguing as our main ones we have had all along.
The first is Myrtle Dean who has been shipped damn near penniless by her ruthless Aunt to an Uncle she has never met because the Aunt does not want to deal with her emotionally and primarily financially any more. Well needless to say or Uncle John and girls meet Myrtle thankfully as her Uncle has flown the coop as they say.
Well a train ride ensues to about half way to California and than an automobile trip ensued. 1911 travel is vividly and wonderfully brought to life by Baum and kids let me tell you in a gazzilion years I would never would make a trip like that with the top speed at a mere 50 miles an hour! I did drive from Cleveland to San Fransisco once, took 3 days to do it and the country was beautiful to say the least. But I am sure 1911 is was much more vast nothingness than in 2002 when I did the trip.
Anyway there is a new dog to in the story adopted by Patsy and he is named Mumbles--cute name huh? A kidnapping, cowboys, Indians, a near suicide attempt and slews of page turning events making this book a stand out!