by Victor Appleton
Every red-blooded boy will enjoy the thrilling adventures of Don Sturdy. In company with his uncles, one a big game hunter, the other a noted scientist, he travels far and wide - into the jungles of South America, across the Sahara, deep into the African jungle, up where the Alaskan volcanoes spout, down among the head hunters of Borneo and many other places where there is danger and excitement. Every boy who has known Tom Swift will at once become the boon companion of daring Don Sturdy. - Grosset & Dunlap Advertisement
01: Don Sturdy On The Desert Of Mystery - For Sale
02: Don Sturdy With The Big Snake Hunters - For Sale
03: Don Sturdy In The Tombs Of Gold - For Sale
04: Don Sturdy Across The North Pole - For Sale
05: Don Sturdy In The Land Of Volcanoes - For Sale
06: Don Sturdy In The Port Of Lost Ships - For Sale
07: Don Sturdy Among The Gorillas - For Sale
08: Don Sturdy Captured By Head-Hunters - For Sale
09: Don Sturdy In Lion Land - For Sale
10: Don Sturdy In The Land Of Giants - For Sale
11: Don Sturdy On The Ocean Bottom - For Sale
12: Don Sturdy In The Temples Of Fear - For Sale
13: Don Sturdy Lost In Glacier Bay - For Sale
14: Don Sturdy Trapped In The Flaming Wilderness - For Sale
15: Don Sturdy With The Harpoon Hunters - For Sale
Total Reported U.S. Sales: 831,321 volumes
Does not include copies that may have been remaindered.
Each book came with a full color dustjacket and glossy frontispiece.
Special thanks to James Keeline and Frank Krieger for their assistance.
Don Sturdy - The Boy AdventurerAs the series opened, Don was living in Hillville, New York with his paternal uncle, Captain Frank Sturdy - big game hunter and adventurer, and his maternal uncle, Professor Amos Regor Bruce - scientist and general all-around know-it-all. Rounding out the household was Mrs. Roscoe the housekeeper, her husband - who functioned as the chauffeur and man-of-all-work. Completing this menage was a wacky, spaced-out, gum-snapping maid named Jenny Jenks who, upon rare occasions, would cease listening at keyholes and actually perform her duties. Initially an interesting grotesque, Jenny's role was expanded until the later books had entire chapters devoted to her mangled use of the language, a device which quickly grew rather tiresome.
Poor Don was, alas, an orphan. His mother, father and sister vanished while sailing around Cape Horn. In order to ease his pain, Don's uncles took him with them to Algeria (no, not the home of Horatio Alger!) in the first volume of the series (On the Desert Of Mystery). There he encountered his red-headed sidekick for the duration of the series, Teddy "Brick" Allison. In the course of this adventure they rescue Teddy's pop and find out from him that (gasp!) Don's family may have indeed survived the shipwreck and be lost somewhere in Brazil (a mere 2500 miles or so from Cape Horn!)
Of course, the next volume (With The Big Snake Hunters) finds Don and his uncles in Brazil hunting for snakes and they run into Don's sister down there (amazing huh?). Seems that Don's pop became a trifle addled from a knock on the noggin and rushed off into the night to go to Egypt. Don's mom hot-footed it right after him leaving poor sis to fend for herself.
Fortunately for all concerned, the third volume (In The Tombs Of Gold) finds Don and his uncles in the land of the Pharaohs, lured there by a belated telegram from Mrs. Sturdy. Mr. Sturdy still can't seem to be located and this seems to have worried Mrs. Sturdy so much that she neglected to drop a line earlier, just to let her family know she wasn't quite dead yet! Nevertheless, her brother and son refrain from having this imbecile woman institutionalized and hunt about the ancient land until Mr. Sturdy finally turns up in a musty old tomb (which, by amazing coincidence, was being searched for by Professor Bruce!)
That could have ended the series then and there but good old Edward Stratemeyer was not a man to let a profitable series die after only three volumes, so he just rolled up his sleeves and had Don and his uncles traipsing all over the globe in search of lost cities and specimens. I've always felt the discovery of Don's parents took the edge off the series somewhat and apparently Eddie Stratemeyer did too and didn't make the same mistake in the Bomba series. Poor Bomba had to search for his parent through 20 volumes!
The formula for a Don Sturdy book is as follows:
Don's uncles are discussing another expedition. Don keeps hocking them to tag along. They hem and haw and finally leave the decision up to Don's mom and dad (only after volume 3 of course!), who dither a while before finally consenting. At the same time, the eavesdropping maid, Jenny Jenks, relates a highly distorted version of the story in the most mangled English possible to the housekeeper, Mrs. Roscoe. Teddy Allison shows up (for most of the stories anyway) and off they go in search of adventure! On the way to wherever they are going, they encounter a terrible storm, during the course of which Don has to save someone's life and maybe give a sharpshooting exhibition as well. When they finally do arrive, the journey is beset by every trial and tribulation that the fevered brains of Stratemeyer's ghostwriting legion can dream up. They, of course, triumph over all odds and the end of every volume finds them safely on their way back to good old Hillville, none the worse for wear.
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