Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Biff Brewster Series Final Thoughts

The Biff Brewster series was created by and published by Grosset and Dunlap.  The books are travelogues like other Grosset and Dunlap books from the 1960s.  The books were written by at least three different authors.

 #1  Walter B. Gibson (first draft by Edward Pastore, rewritten by Gibson)
 #2  unknown
 #3  unknown
 #4  Walter B. Gibson
 #5  Edward Pastore
 #6  Peter Harkins
 #7  Walter B. Gibson
 #8  Edward  Pastore
 #9  Walter B. Gibson
#10  Peter Harkins
#11  Peter Harkins
#12  Peter Harkins
#13  Walter B. Gibson

The quality of the series was negatively impacted by having several authors.  Biff's personality shifts over the course of the series, and some events don't fit with the events of previous volumes.

Biff has a new friend in nearly every book.  While I do like Biff having a friend who is from the country that Biff visits, I found that Biff having a new friend in every book lessened the impact of the series.  When the friends do show up again, I find that they are interchangeable.  Every friend is like the same person but with a different name and a slightly different manner of speech.

All of the books are travelogues, but the earlier books are quite exciting and the travelogue aspect complements the plot.  Most of the early books are much better than the average travelogue.  I feel that by volumes 9 through 13, the travelogue aspect encroaches upon the plot, thereby detracting from the story.  The final two books, in particular, are lacking like the average Grosset and Dunlap travelogue book of the 1960s.

While I didn't enjoy the final books in the series very much, I greatly enjoyed the middle of the series from #3 up through #8.  #8 is a bit stupid, but I found it nearly as enjoyable as #4-7.

This series is similar to Rick Brant but is not as good as the Rick Brant series.  Some collectors instead compare this series to Tom Quest.  To me, Tom Quest is incomparable and in a category of its own.  Of the series I have read, the Biff Brewster series is most similar to Sandy Steele, which has a very similar premise.

I do recommend this series as one that is likely to appeal to readers of Rick Brant and other similar boys' series. 

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