PERSONAL: Married to David Jensen. Education: Graduated from Carleton College, 1967.
CAREER: Writer. Former English teacher.
The Riddle of Penncroft Farm, Harcourt (San Deigo, CA), 1989.
SIDELIGHTS: Searching for a way to make American history come alive for her own children, former English teacher Dorothea Jensen wrote her first young-adult novel, The Riddle of Penncroft Farm, as part contemporary adolescent literature, part mystery, and part historical journey. In it twelve-year-old Lars Olafson and his family move from Minnesota to Pennsylvania where Lars's dying Aunt Cass has concealed the fate of her Penncroft Farm in a hidden will. Lars not only must find the will while struggling with the usual hassles of moving to a new school, but he also meets a mysterious young boy who regales him with 200-year-old stories from nearby Valley Forge. The boy's appearence in Lars's life adds the element of a friendly ghost story to the proceedings. Elizabeth Mellett of the School Library Journal appreciated the "entertaining mystery . . . combined with . . . enthralling tales of the American Revolution," and felt that the book's "two terrific stories . . . intertwined nicely and come together in a satisfying conclusion." In Booklist Barbara Elleman noted, "After an uneven beginning . . . the plot smooths out into a fascinating merge of contemporary concerns . . . and historical facts."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 1, 1989, Barbara Elleman, review of The Riddle of Penncroft Farm, p. 351.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, November 1989, Zena Sutherland, review of The Riddle of Penncroft Farm, p. 62.
School Library Journal, October, 1989, Elizabeth Mellett, review of The Riddle of Penncroft Farm, p. 120.*