Second-grade twins prepare to leave the country, but not without first solving a time-sensitive mystery.
Ella and Ethan Briar are devastated by their parents’ announcement that the family is leaving their beloved hometown. Mrs. Briar has accepted a new job as a travel writer, a job that will send the family to new places all over the globe on a weekly basis. In an attempt to soothe the twins’ unhappiness about the move (“What about school? And soccer?” they ask), their grandfather—a retired, globe-trotting archaeologist himself—gives each a special gift for their travels. Mystery-writing Ella gets a journal; Ethan gets a special gold coin. On their last morning in town, Ethan realizes that his gold coin is missing—and they only have a few hours before they have to leave for the airport. While their grandfather does their chores, the twins methodically determine when Ethan last had the coin—the previous day—and make a list of places he visited to retrace his steps. This allows the twins to say goodbye to friendly faces throughout the town. This series-launching installment’s light on mystery, but it’s welcoming and accessible through expressive, frequent illustrations. The Mystery of the Mosaic, publishing simultaneously, takes the kids to Venice for their first overseas adventure.
Not terribly remarkable, but the series has lots of growing room. (Mystery. 5-7)