Posts tagged ‘detective story’

COLD CASE?

Bread N’ Butter: Private Rye

Written by A.J. Cosmo

When Floret Viridian, a beautiful head of broccoli, comes to visit Private Rye in the fridge, he suspects trouble. Floret asks him to find out who stole the royal jelly from her last night. She is the maid for the Dom, who will be furious with her when he finds out. Rye goes with his sidekick butter to Cereal Box Alley, the seedy side of town. There he interviews a potato who tells him that Leek is a suspect. The trail leads to the Carton Egg section and eventually to the Soda Can Diner. Eventually Rye solves the mystery after the plot takes a surprising turn.

There is lots of humor and some clever lines filled with creative analogies and plays on words. This beginning chapter book is perfect for reluctant readers. Clever characters, mystery, and humor set up a winning combination. Recommended especially for seven to ten year old readers.

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ELEPHANT ENLIGHTENMENT

Charlie the Smart Elephant: Books for Kids: Bedtime Story, Beginning Reader

Written by Jeff Harris

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Short tale of less than twenty pages featuring Charlie the Elephant, an intelligent but hungry elephant who was born in a small town somewhere in Africa, but who longs to live the life of a pet in a cozy family. One day he is adopted and placed in a stray animal shelter where Charlie finds the company of other animals. He is delighted when a boy named Connor adopts him; and the family builds a separate house for the elephant. Then Charlie becomes sad because he has everything he needs and is bored. Charlie rejoices when he overhears two pet dogs talking about their cookies being missing. So Charlie decides to become a detective and solve the missing cookie mystery. Following the cookie crumbs, Charlie comes to a deep forest. Should he enter the forest and risk becoming lost? Will he solve the mystery and return to his family?

This book is charming and sweet for a bedtime story, and beginning readers will be able to handle the text, but the plot does not always flow smoothly or connect the dots. Children might have questions that go unanswered. A few simple illustrations are included. Targeted for readers ages two through fourteen, I would recommend it as a bedtime story for preschoolers or as a beginning reader for a child who enjoys stories about pets.

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#READ KIDS CLASSICS – CLASSROOM CHAOS

Miss Nelson is Missing!

Written by Harry Allard

Illustrated by James Marshall

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One of my favorite books to be read and shared with my students and my own two children. Originally published in 1977 in Hardcover edition, today it is available on amazon in multiple formats.

Miss Nelson is a sweet and pretty young teacher who has great difficulty controlling the rambunctious students in Room 207. They are rude and obnoxious, spitballs are visible on the ceiling and paper airplanes soar through the air. One day Miss Nelson fails to show up. Miss Viola Swamp dressed all in black and wearing ugly white make-up walks in as their substitute. The students soon learn, “ Be careful what you wish for.” Miss Swamp goes way beyond mean, and they could never have imagined so much classwork and homework. The children realize what a good teacher they have lost. Fear, panic and desperation flood their hearts. When it appears that Miss Nelson is not coming back, they even hire a detective to try to find her.

Marshall does a fantastic job with the illustrations, which look like a combination of cartoon and watercolors. Each one portrays exactly what is unfolding in the classroom. As a teacher and mom, I certainly enjoyed the humor and reality of the situation. Targeted for ages four through eight, this book is perfect for that age group, but my second grade students chose this book as one of their favorites. The book is a fun read any time of year, but also is perfect as a back to school read.

About the Author and Illustrator ( bios taken from their Amazon Page)

Harry Allard is the author of several hilarious books for children, including three books about Miss Nelson and four books about the Stupid family, all illustrated by James Marshall. He currently lives in Oaxaca, Mexico.

James Marshall (1942–1992) created dozens of exuberant and captivating books for children, including The Stupids, Miss Nelson Is Missing!, and the ever-popular George and Martha books. Before creating his canon of classic, hilarious children’s books, James Marshall played the viola, studied French, and received a master’s degree from Trinity College. He also doodled. It was the doodles, and the unforgettable characters that emerged from them, that led him to his life’s work as one of the finest creators of children’s books of the twentieth century. In 2007, James Marshall was posthumously awarded the Laura Ingalls Wilder medal for his lasting contribution to literature for children.

READCLASSICS,PIC

GHOSTS, MYSTERIES, AND HISTORY

xandra Fry, Private Eye: The Curse of the Lion’s Heart

Written by Angella Graff

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This is Book One of the Alexandra Fry detective series. Angella is a pretty ordinary twelve year old, who is nervous about starting the first day of seventh grade in a new middle school. She shares time with both of her divorced parents. At the beginning of the tale, readers are introduced to Alexandra’s unique talent. She is able to see the ghosts of famous historical persons, who ask her help in solving mysteries. Alexandra has assisted Magellan in finding his lost compass and Abraham Lincoln in finding his stolen top hat. As if the first day in a new school isn’t difficult enough, Alexandra is contacted by Queen Elizabeth I of England, who insists that if the family locket is not located, a curse will be visited upon the current community. Her classmates and teachers think that she is talking to herself.

Fortunately for Elizabeth, her dad works in the City Museum. Her ability to gain easy access has helped her solve many cases in the past. In this mystery, she will be able to enlist the aid of a new friend, Penelope, and an eighth grader named Jack who at first appears to be more of a suspect than a friend. Alexandra must face the same issues most preteens face: bullying, fitting in with the crowd, negotiating their way with adults and asserting their independence. The author narrates a plot that has lots of twists and turns and combines elements of paranormal, history, mystery and adventure. Characters are believable and use authentic dialogue. The text is easy enough for preteens, but also is sophisticated enough for a young adult or adult reader. I was totally drawn into the mystery and felt empathy for the young characters.

Readers age eight and older who enjoy history, mystery, detective, paranormal and coming of age books will all find something here to their liking. Look forward to the rest of the series.

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PANDEMONIUM

Gabby Gibson: Middle School Detective

Written by Sharon Broomall

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The author has her pulse on the middle school audience. Gabby Gibson, the protagonist, is the perfect heroine. Gabby’s dad has passed away, but she follows in his footsteps as detective par excellence.

She is a seventh grader at Preston Middle School who experiences many of the problems that her young readers face. There is gossip among the girls, bullying, the nerds, those perceived to be the haves and the have-nots. The dialogue is funny and authentic. Readers will laugh and cry with the characters and their foibles. Student and adult characters share equally the laughter and the criticism.

Plot centers around the mystery of how the Panda mascot of Preston Middle School got his head cut off at an important soccer game, and how the money for the annual seventh grade dance went missing. When the dance is canceled by principal, Mr. Sauerbutts, Gabby kicks her detective skills into high gear. There are enough twists and turns to keep the plot interesting. Our detective thinks she has the answer, but discovers she was wrong. Will Gabby solve the mystery and save the dance? Does the Panda mascot find his head?

At just under two hundred pages, the book is a nice fit for readers ages nine and up. Just a suggestion, a few simple drawings might have made some of those hilarious scenes even more effective.

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THE TRUE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

The Question of Christmas

Written by Benjamin J. Denen

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The author begins his story in the prologue by pondering the question about the true meaning of Christmas and how its meaning has been transformed over time. Then he transports the reader back to few days before Christmas in the 1980’s when he was a twelve year old sixth grade student.

Spencer takes us on a detective adventure with his two best friends, Josh and Tiffany. This Christmas would be a lean one for Spencer’s family as his father has lost his job, and the family faces financial distress due to mounting medical costs. Spencer’s older brother, B.Jack needs heart surgery due to complications related to his Down’s Syndrome condition. The adventure begins when Spencer observes a stranger moving in to a long abandoned house down the street. For some reason, he senses a strange connection. That night hearing about the robbery of a valuable dagger from the museum in Chicago, Spencer is sure he recognizes the stranger in the police sketch shown on TV as that thief.

The three inseparable friends spend all their waking free hours following the man named Alejandro Rojas. When they spy him trying to sell something to Mr. O’Flannagan in the antique store, they are determined to break in to find the dagger as evidence of the crime. I will not spoil the story; of course, the plans go awry. Is Mr. Rojas guilty and what is his connection to Spencer’s town? Will the children be caught and punished? What will happen to B.Jack?

This novella of less than one hundred pages is well written. The reader will draw his own conclusions about what Christmas truly means, but the author’s conclusion is that Christmas is love in action and should be practiced all year round. This tale does not have a biased view. It is just a though provoking feel good story appropriate for tweens, teens and adults of all ages. Highly recommended!

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