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)