Field Trip Mysteries: The Mount Rushmore Face That Couldn’t See

Field Trip Mysteries: The Mount Rushmore Face That Couldn’t See


by Steve Brezenoff, ill. Marcos Calo

Brezenoff, S. 2013. The Mount Rushmore face that couldn’t see. Minnesota: Capstone.


Catalina Duran is going with the History Club on a field trip to Mount Rushmore, but there is more than meets the eye at this historical landmark. When the group arrives, they notice a group of protesters in the parking lot, protesting that the land belongs to the Lakota tribe. A series of strange events begin to unfold during their trip: the ranger is tied up, old machinery runs by itself, and it’s seeming more and more like the place is haunted by ghosts, either the ghosts of presidents or of the Lakota. Catalina is on the case figuring out what it is haunting Mount Rushmore.
Quantitative Summary:

Lexile: 490L

ATOS Book Level: 3.4

Interest Level:   Middle Grades (MG 4-8)

Qualitative Summary:

This book has moderate illustrations, but each page has a few small paragraphs of text. Each chapter has a few pages that feature block quotes of sentences significant to the plot. There is a glossary in the back of the book that helps students with some of the bigger vocabulary words in the book. The structure and chronology is straight forward, and the language is on par with a middle school level. The narrative structure is somewhat like a Scooby Doo mystery, complete with a red herring and a reveal at the end.

Curriculum Tie Ins:

Discussions of the mystery genre and the types of characters in mysteries: the detective, the red herring, the culprit.

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

1. Develop and apply comprehension skills by reading and analyzing a variety of self-selected and assigned literary texts including print and non-print

2. Analyze text features to facilitate understanding of literary texts

3. Analyze elements of narrative texts to facilitate understanding and interpretation

Author’s website:

Personal Thoughts: The illustrations in the beginning and end of this book really drew me in and reminded me of books I loved at this age, ones that really gave off a “solving a mystery” aura with newspaper clippings and images of notepads.