Short and sweet, this book is a good choice for reluctant and early readers, while its humorous content will appeal to fans...



From the Flaca Files series , Vol. 1

A bilingual early chapter book inducts a new character into the pantheon of precocious child detectives.

Detective Flaca is an 8-year-old gumshoe. In this first offering, readers are privy to three of her cases, involving a missing chancleta (or flip-flop), deadly oranges and disappearing salsa (of the dance, not the food, variety), respectively. Geared toward an audience that appreciates snarky humor rather than hard-core mystery fans, all three cases are the result of comedic misunderstandings on the part of Detective Flaca and are “solved” by her learning the truth in each situation. Vicente does a commendable job of including the meanings of Spanish words within the text in such a manner that non-Spanish speakers should easily be able to understand them without the need for a glossary (which is good, since there isn’t one). While Detective Flaca’s language and thought processes belie her age, the stories themselves are entertaining enough to allow readers to suspend disbelief. Baeza Ventura’s Spanish translation of the story follows the English rendition.

Short and sweet, this book is a good choice for reluctant and early readers, while its humorous content will appeal to fans of comedy. Chuckle-inducing fun. (Mystery. 6-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55885-779-7

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Piñata Books/Arté Público

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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From the Ballpark Mysteries series , Vol. 1

A new series for emerging chapter-book readers combines the allure of baseball parks with the challenge of solving a mystery. Mike and Kate have tickets to a Red Sox game and an all-access pass to the park, courtesy of Kate's mom, a sportswriter. The pass comes in handy when it's reported that star player Big D's lucky bat has been stolen, as it allows them to help find the thief. Historical details about Fenway Park, including the secret code found on the manual scoreboard, a look at Wally the mascot and a peek into the gift shop, will keep the young baseball fan reading, even when the actual mystery of the missing bat falls a little flat. Writing mysteries for very young readers is a challenge—the puzzle has to be easy enough to solve while sustaining readers' interest. This slight adventure is more baseball-park travel pamphlet than mystery, a vehicle for providing interesting details about one of the hallowed halls of baseball. Not a homerun, but certainly a double for the young enthusiast. On deck? The Pinstripe Ghost, also out on Feb. 22, 2011. (historical notes) (Mystery. 6-9)



Pub Date: Feb. 22, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86703-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2011

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Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd.


From the Zach and Zoe Mysteries series , Vol. 1

Lupica kicks off a new series starring a pair of 8-year-old twins who solve sports-themed mysteries.

Even the pleasures of competing in various events during his school’s Spirit Week dim a smidge for Zach Walker when the prized autographed baseball he brings to his third-grade class for show and tell vanishes. Happily, his bookish but equally sports-loving sister, Zoe, is on the case, and by the time of the climactic baseball game at week’s end, she has pieced together clues and deductions that lead to the lost treasure—which had not been stolen but batted through an open window by the teacher’s cat and stashed in a storage shed by the custodian. In the co-published sequel, The Half-Court Hero, the equally innocuous conundrum hangs on the identity of the mysterious “guardian angel” who is fixing up a run-down playground basketball court. Along with plenty of suspenseful sports action, the author highlights in both tales the values of fair play, teamwork, and doing the “right thing.” The Walker family presents white, but in both the narrative and Danger’s appropriately bland (if inappropriately static) illustrations, the supporting cast shows some racial and ethnic diversity.

Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-425-28936-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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