Cushman, Doug. THE MYSTERY OF KING KARFU. Illus. by
author. New York:
HarperCollins, 1996. 32p. 0-06-024797-5; lib.bdg., $14.89. 0-06-024796-7; hb.,
$14.95 0-06-35032; pb., $5.95 95-31064 Gr. K-3 E
Seymour Sleuth is the world's greatest detective. His
latest case--The Missing Stone Chicken. This petrified foul belonged
to the ancient Egyptian pharaoh, King Karfu. Seymour keeps a casebook that
captures every step. He interviews suspects, examines clues and puts thepieces
together to find out whodunit? However, there is a secret code as well as
King Karfu's LostTreasure that wait to be discovered by sharp-eyed readers.
Author/illustrator Cushman's latest picture book about this intrepid detective
exemplifies cleverness, entertainment and imagination all rolled into one.
Patricia Fittante; Children's Librarian, Escanaba Public Library.
Hale, Bruce. THE BIG NAP. New York: Harcourt, Inc. 2001.
0-15-202521-9; hb., $14.00 Gr. 3-5 FIC
Chet Grecko, Private Eye. That's the name.
Wanna see the badge? Lucky for the students at Emerson Hicky
Elementary that Detective Chet is on the job or all the young folk might be
turned into zombies. With the help of Natalie, a bird, and Waldo, an
unidentified furball; Chet meets and defeats a rascally weasel. Hale
is heavy into puns and double meanings which may go over the heads of some
of the young readers, but the amusing animals, so aptly created in black-and-white
drawings and scattered throughout, will amuse and enthuse. The big question
is--Can Chet save the school? Or will he and Natalie be the next in
line at the chalkboard? Sheesh.....(quote Chet)...you'll never know
unless you read it!
Patricia J. Fittante; Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI
Holm, Jennifer L. THE CREEK. New York: HarperCollins
Publisher, Inc., 2003. 232p.
0-06-000133-X hb. $15.99 Gr. 7-10 YA
Holm, Author of several historical novels about girls entering puberty, tries her hand with a contemporary novel, adding trappings of a creepy thriller that pushes the story well beyond the child-plays-detective theme found in most youth mysteries. Penny, almost 13, is content to spend her summer hanging out with the boys on her block. But this year, their games are charged by rumors about Caleb Devlin, a legend on Mockingbird Lane, who terrorized an entire town before he got sent away. When pets begin vanishing in the neighborhood, it seems obvious to most residents that Caleb is behind the disappearances. Penny's dreams are haunted by visions of this young man who both fascinates and repels her. As she and her friends investigate, they have numerous close scrapes that go beyond the safety of a juvenile mystery novel. All the threads do not come together to weave a believable tale. Penny's sexual awakening and her reaction to death leave readers with doubts about her character development in the story It left this reader unsettled.
Lynette Suckow, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI
Hornik, Laurie Miller. THE SECRETS OF MS. SNICKLE'S CLASS. Illus.
by Debbie Tilley.
New York: Clarion, 2001. 135p. 0-628-03435-8; hb., $15.00 Gr. 3-5 FIC
What kid, in lieu of tests in a classroom, wouldn't
like to substitute them with pizza-topping spelling contests and class trips
to find runaway desks? Most would. In Ms. Snickle's bizarre
classroom, this off-the-wall teacher has a unique way of teaching; no tests
or homework. However, she does insist on one principle. "No
telling secrets!" Ms. Snickles recognizes the importance of
secrets and keeping them, and announces "Secrets are precious and sometimes
a bit fragile, so be careful!" The biggest secret of all is that of
Ms. Snickle. After school is dismissed, she pushes a button and the
schoolroom turns into her apartment, complete with her cat, Lacey.
The class busybody, makes it her mission in life to learn the secrets of
all her classmates and tells all! However; when she learns Ms. Snickles'
secret, she soon discovers that secrets are definitely made to be kept.
This wildly imaginative and humorous novel, absurd though it may be, will
bring snorts and Snickles!
Patricia J. Fittante; Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI
Labatt, Mary A. A WEEKEND AT THE GRAND HOTEL. Tonawanda, NY:
Kids Can Press, 2001. 104p. 1-555074-883-1; hb., $12.95 Gr. 2-5 FIC
Although Samantha, a sheepdog, looks like a walking
mop, she has the aspirations of being the best dog detective this side of
the Mason Dixon Line. The only thing holding the cantankerous canine
back is her unsatisfying menu of dog food. As the reader soon discovers,
Sam much prefers apple pie with shrimp, whipped cream on a bacon burger,
or a butter tart topped with sardines. Sniffing is her game so when
her dog-sitter/next door neighbor, Jennie cons her parents into taking Sam
along on a vacation to the Grand Hotel the fun begins. The suitcases
were not even unpacked yet when Sam begins her snooping which in turn plants
the protagonist right in the middle of an exciting mystery. Sam is
able to communicate with Jennie by putting thoughts into her head, so mystery
buffs who have always wanted to talk to the animals will love the craziness
of Sam as well as the surprise ending. Arf. Woof. Yip! (In dog
language that means “You must read it to find out!”
Pat Fittante; Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI
Lerangis, Peter. THE 39 CLUES: THE SWORD THIEF. New York, NY: Scholastic, 2009. 158p. ISBN: 978-0-545-06043-1 hb. $12.99 Gr. 4-8 Juv.
Can you imagine trying to carry Samurai swords unnoticed through airport security? This is exactly how 14 year old Amy and 11 year old Dan Cahill begin their latest adventure. Their cherished grandmother, Grace, recently passed away leaving all of the family heirs in a race for the 39 clues. These clues lead to potential world power. The brother and sister, along with their au pair Nellie, have discovered the first two clues already. They are initially tricked by their KGB secret agent cousins, Natalie and Ian, whom they later team up with in Japan. They also team up with their wealthy Uncle Alistair Oh who helps them on their way. They continue to explore secret libraries and forgotten caves in search of the next clue. At each turn they are reminded not to trust anyone, especially family. They are left for dead by their cousins and were left to believe that Uncle Alister had died in a cave implosion. This story will continually keep you guessing to igure out the next clue along with the sibling team. Follow along with your own adventure on the companion website. Lisa Wallace, teacher and mother of five, Tahquamenon Area Librar, Newberry, MI
Levy, Elizabeth. A MAMMOTH MIX-UP. Illus. by George
Ulrich. Brian and Pea Brain
Mystery Series. New York: Harper, 1995. 87p. $12.95 0-06-024814-9; hb., $12.95
0-06-0248157; lib.bd., $12.80 0-06-442043-4; pb., $3.95 94-47960 Gr. 2-4 FIC
This mystery with a villain and a brother-sister
relationship that enhance the plot is the third in the series. The
children discredit a false scientist as they learn about the wooly mammoth
for their science fair entry at the science museum. Black and white
sketches add to the action. Recommended for ages 7-10. Pair this
book with Aliki's WILD AND WOOLY MAMMOTHS. (HarperCollins, 1995).
Virginia Foreman, retired English teacher, lifelong reader of books about paleontology
Patron, Susan. BEHIND
THE MASKS. Dear America/The Diary
of Angeline Reddy.
New York; Scholastic Inc; 2012. 293p. ISBN:978-0-545-30437-5 hb.$12.99 Gr. 4-6 Juv.
fourteen year old Angie and her mother are informed that her father, a
well-known lawyer, has been murdered, but there is no body and the details
surrounding the murder are sketchy at best.
With help from her friends, Angie begins a quest to find her father, who
she believes is alive. Why has he mysteriously disappeared?
Patron researches each entry in her historical series well, giving her
readers a view into the past, while crafting a good story. This entry takes
place in a wild west gold mining town in Bodie California. The description wild,
suits Bodie well. It has saloons, vigilantes, greed, prostitutes, and prejudice
against the Chinese immigrants who were coming into California, with a ghost to
add to the intrigue. Fans will be happy with this entry in the Dear America
Barbara Ward, Retired Children’s Librarian, Dickinson County Library
Santopolo, Jill. ALEC
FLINT, SUPER SLEUTH: THE NINA, THE PINTA, AND THE
VANISHING TREASURE. Illus. by C.B. Canga. New York: Orchard Books, 2008. 183p.
ISBN: 978-0-439-90352-3 hb. $15.99. Gr. 4-6 Juv.
This is a very fun tale about a young boy who has decided to be a super sleuth and solve crimes. Alec's father is a police officer and has been brought in to solve the theft of some pieces in a "Christopher Columbus" exhibit. Alec has been studying Columbus in school and notices that some things in the exhibit don't seem to fit with what he learned. He and his new sleuth friend, Gina, decide to solve the crime together, along with the case of the missing art teacher, which ends up being connected. This is a very interesting tale that also teaches the children something about the history of Christopher Columbus without being too "teachy" in the process.
Melissa Coyne, Substitute Teacher, Tahquamenon Area Public Library
Saunders, Susan. THE CHILLING TALE OF CRESCENT POND, Book
8. Illus. by
Jane Manning. Black Cat Club series. New York: Harper Trophy, 1998. 81p.
0-06-442072-8, pb., $3.95. Demco/Turtleback Books, 0606132058. Gr. 1-5 FIC
In this series, a group of friends have formed the Black
Cat Club to find the ghosts that seem to be plentiful in their town.
Similar to the popular Goosebumps series, pre-teens should find these stories
readable and exciting. In this chapter book a mysterious force is haunting
Crescent Pond which has recently been opened for skating 100 years after
Alice Foster fell through the ice and subsequently died from pneumonia.
Alice's ghost, pesky but helpful, takes several of the club members back
in time to discover who is haunting the pond and why. Will they be able
to prevent a looming disaster in the present?
Carolyn Anderson, retired elementary teacher;Member of the L’Anse (MI) Public Library Advisory Board
Vande Velde, Vivian. THERE’S A DEAD PERSON FOLLOWING MY
San Diego, Harcourt Brace, 1999. 143p. 0-15-202100-0; hb., $16.00. Gr. 5-9 FIC
Eleven-year-old Ted suddenly finds that the house he’s
living in is haunted. He finds that his little sister Vicki has an
invisible friend, Marella, who is afraid of a bad lady who comes through
the walls of her bedroom. Ted starts to have nightmares about going
through a house with corpses in each room and finally finding himself in
a room filling with water. Ted, of course, starts to research the history
of the house that was built before the Civil War. This is a fun read
with good character development, lots of twists and turns, great humor and
an intriguing ending. It’s about family relationships, the Underground
Railroad, courage and even revenge. This is a good addition to any
middle school library.
Barbara Berry; retired school library-media specialist
Warner, Gertrude Chandler. THE MYSTERY ON BLIZZARD MOUNTAIN.
children mysteries series Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman, 2001. 121p. 0-8075-5493-6;
lib.bdg., $13.95 0-8075-5494-4; pb. $3.95 Gr. 2-5 FIC
The Alden children, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny,
climb Blizzard Mountain with Maris, a park ranger who is marking a new trail.
The elements of mystery on their trip are a dead battery, dirt dumped in
the cabin, Stagecoach George’s ghost, a hidden treasure, having someone steal
part of their food and Henry’s boots, disappearing tracks, and mysterious
noises. There are two suspects. Carola didn’t want anyone building
new trails and Bobcat who went back to get more food and didn’t return.
The culprit is someone connected to a recent museum break-in. Clues
are liberally sprinkled throughout, worn hiking boots, a piece of a purple
velvet cape, an undercover detective.
In the first chapter, readers learn that the children are the original “Boxcar Children,” Book umber 86 tales place after they have been found by their grandfather. The series was first written by Chandler who died in 1979. The books aren’t great literature but provide beginning readers with easy and fun practice.
Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
Warner, Gertrude Chandler. THE SPY GAME. Illus. Robert Papp. The
Boxcar Children Series.
Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman & Company, 2009. 103p. Gr 2-4 Juv. FIC
As the Boxcar children help a neighbor remove stones from a walkway, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny uncover letters carved into stepping stones. The riddle determined from the letters sends the mystery lovers on another adventure of making sense of a mysterious old photo, a hope chest, and a Greek myth. Other surprises pop up as the story progress but it all ends in a neat package.
Jolene Hetherington, Teacher, Munising School Public Library
Yolen, Jane and Martin H. Greenberg, eds. THE HAUNTED HOUSE:
OF ORIGINAL STORIES. Illus. by Doron Ben-Ami. New York: HarperCollins, 1995. 88p.
0-06-024468-2; lib.bdg. $14.89 0-06-024467-4; hb., $13.95 Gr. 3-6 J FIC
If you have never believed in ghosts you might
want to visit the "Haunted House." It is a clever format that was instrumented
by Yolen and Greenberg when they created this collection of seven spooky
stories--each one written by a different author and each story taking place
in one of seven different rooms of a haunted house. You are invited
to come in to a house that creaks and groans---where there may be lights
that blink off and on, or where things disappear. It all starts in
the cellar and traverses the house room by room (each author writes a story
set in a different room) and it all ends in an attic Train Room. Ben-Ami
adds to the fun with realistic shadowy illustrations that compliment the
text. The chapters are short---but long enough to keep the shivers
coming. These two authors have assembled a creepy collection of stories
that will leave the reader wondering just what that noise really was---in
the next room!
Patricia Fittantte, Children's Librarian, Escanaba Public Library
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