A fun and bouncy young kids’ book that’s sure to appeal with its big kids’ look.


From the Marty Frye Private Eye series

Marty Frye is a private eye who solves the crimes while speaking in rhyme in a reissue of a 1998 effort.

Marty solves three mysteries in this very brief chapter book that’s just as much a cleverly concealed early reader. First, Marty helps Emma find her missing diary, which disappeared just after their teacher turned on a movie for the class to watch. By interviewing (in rhyme) his classmates and examining the scene of the crime, Marty deduces what might have happened to Emma’s book. Next, he helps the man who runs the local toy store find a missing box of action figures. Finally, he helps his little sister locate a misplaced bag of flour. These very short, high-interest episodes are presented in bold, large-print type on pages that are rich with numerous amusing, cartoonlike illustrations. Marty is depicted as white in the cover art. Almost none of the other characters are described, but most of them also seem white in the illustrations. The cadence of Marty’s rhyming dialogue is somewhat infectious, and it has the added benefit of helping young readers tackle unfamiliar (but rhyming) words. Although character development is minimal in this plot-driven tale, the mysteries are satisfyingly simple enough to figure out just before Marty pulls them together.

A fun and bouncy young kids’ book that’s sure to appeal with its big kids’ look. (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-11661-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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No surprises here.



From the Disney's Spooky Zone series

The famous Disney duck triplets, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, travel to Berlin and uncover a sinister plot.

Huey, Dewey, and Louie are living with their uncle Donald in Duckburg when they’re appointed International Student ambassadors by the National Association of Studious and Talented Youth. This gives them the opportunity to become exchange students and live in several countries for two-month stints in each. First on the list: Germany. The triplets arrive in Berlin, and a rather transparent mystery reveals itself when a schoolmate starts behaving strangely after being gifted a soccer ball by the mysterious Dr. Z. The light mocking of German culture (cuisine and names in particular) is in poor taste. Dewey, being the middle brother and feeling left out, narrates, but the other brothers chime in regularly. Unfortunately, the varying fonts used for each brother aren’t easily distinguishable and may lead to confusion for readers. Additionally, seemingly arbitrary words are set in boldface, and more than halfway through the book, speech bubbles begin to appear—questionable design choices that may also perplex. Ferrari’s spot art is featured on nearly every page and should help attract reluctant readers. The triplets are easily recognizable, and all characters are very expressive. There’s not much here that won’t be obvious to astute readers, but it may draw in fans of the TV show DuckTales. Oh, and this one isn’t for arachnophobes!

No surprises here. (Adventure. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5077-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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This funny, endearing addition to the series will delight early readers, especially dog lovers.


From the King & Kayla series

King and Kayla, the detective duo, are back to solve the mystery of Kayla’s missing tooth.

King, the happy and hilarious golden retriever narrator, anxiously awaits the return of his human, Kayla, who’s been at school for “eleventy seven hours. Maybe even eleventy seven days.” When Kayla finally arrives home, she has big news: She’s lost a tooth! Kayla is excited to use her class’s tooth-fairy pillow that night, but, alas, her tooth is missing! Though King discovers the pillow smells like turkey sandwiches (his favorite food), just like Kayla’s teeth, her tooth is nowhere to be found. The pair checks the car, the last place Kayla saw the tooth, and King finds lots of crumbs (more of his favorite foods) but no tooth. And so it goes, and Kayla must go to bed with an empty pillow. In the morning, Kayla finds a dollar, a dog treat, and a note from the tooth fairy even though her tooth wasn’t there. But when King notices the pillow still smells like turkey sandwiches, he’s found the final clue. Each page includes illustrations that are often humorous and highlight the affection between King and Kayla, who is depicted with brown skin and Afro-textured hair.

This funny, endearing addition to the series will delight early readers, especially dog lovers. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-56145-880-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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