Books by Simon Cheshire

Released: May 25, 2010

Middle-grader Saxby Smart is back in his Thinking Chair for three more stories in this second volume of his mystery series (The Curse of the Ancient Mask and Other Case Files, 2009). Speaking congenially to readers, Saxby invites them to help deduce the clues. In the first case, Saxby must find a rare comic book that's gone missing from a locked safe, and he uncovers lots of interesting comic-book trivia in the process of discovering the motive—old-fashioned greed—and the perp. The middle is the most engrossing of the three stories, involving an historic mansion with a dark past where Saxby's friend finds a scroll hidden in the wall that leads them on a brain-teasing hunt to the real "Treasure of Dead Man's Lane." Last, Saxby must unravel the enigma of six students who all have two things in common: home intruders and an anti-stress class. Troublemaker Harry Lovecraft makes a reappearance, and his uncle plays a key role in the mystery. Generously dappled with Alley's breezy line drawings, the cases are timely and twisting enough to keep the light bulb bright in the young sleuth's mind. (Mystery. 8-12) Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2009

Saxby Doyle Christie Chandler Ellin Allan Smart wants to be a detective as good as the greats. Even though he's only ten years old, he is observant and adept at using deductive reasoning. In the first of three "case files," the tale of the Ancient Mask, Saxby, with the help of his friend Izzy, discovers that the mask's real curse is a case of competitive sabotage. The second case file is a thinly disguised examination of human motivations and the effect of scare tactics as Saxby uncovers the secret behind the appearance of purple goo on his classmates' projects. In the third mystery, Saxby sets out to find the thief of a valuable coat clasp. His progress is slowed by false suspects, but Saxby learns that it's all really a case of bad attitude. The stories are liberally illustrated with Alley's homey sketches plus representations of Saxby's notebooks. While each short mystery is involving, the distinguishing aspect of this series opener is Saxby's enthusiastic invitations to readers to participate in the sleuthing. A solid successor to Encyclopedia Brown. (Mystery. 7-12)Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 13, 2007

Lovers of British humor can feed their addiction with this hilarious romp through snow and relationships. High-schooler Tom has a nice side job working as a celebrity look-alike. He's the image of Britain's Prince George, but that isn't helping him begin a romance with the love of his life, the gorgeous and super-genius Louise. He's on the school ski team with Louise and two other friends: Jack, master of comedy who's undergoing serious depression, and Allan, superficial clothes-horse who actually scores dates with Louise. The team has a slight chance to win the national skiing championship, but the tangled friendships intervene and Tom impersonates the Prince once too often. Cheshire keeps the humor lively and perfectly tuned as Tom copes with what he views as the wreckage of his entire life. Quite funny and full of wonderfully eccentric characters and delicious irony. Spot on. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
KISSING VANESSA by Simon Cheshire
Released: Oct. 12, 2004

Fifteen-year-old Kevin falls in love at first sight and does everything wrong in this sidesplitting romp through adolescent love. Kevin deliberately fades into the background until a rich, talented, drop-dead gorgeous girl moves to his school. At first Vanessa seems to like Kevin, but his efforts to win her love always backfire hilariously. In desperation he turns to his friend Jack, who is such a babe magnet that he's writing a book on how to get girls. Kevin puts himself under Jack's tutelage with Monty Python-like disastrous results. He alienates Vanessa's famous parents first, and finally Vanessa. Can Kevin overcome his obsession, or will he finally achieve his seemingly impossible goal? The expertly written British humor here can easily appeal to American readers. Most YA comedies make you smile. This one makes you laugh out loud. It's flat-out uproarious. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >