Mystery (and humor) mavens will eagerly await future cases.

READ REVIEW

IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE PLAYGROUND

Snoop Troop can solve the case…with a little help from readers.

Fourth-grader Logan Lang loves mysteries; she reads them, and she solves them. That’s why when she hears about mysterious doings at Hurling Rivers Amusement Park on her combination lunch box and police radio, she hotfoots it out there. Someone has stolen the merry-go-round. Logan starts her investigation, but Gustavo Muchomacho, an overeager boy from school, keeps sticking his nose (and his fake mustache) into things. The duo pool their talents just as the whole playground is stolen from the school, and they discover trained moles are behind the thefts…but who’s behind the trained moles? There’s no shortage of suspects, and readers get to guess based on presented evidence. Scroggs kicks off an interactive series of goofy mysteries with this heavily illustrated hybrid of graphic novel, mystery fiction and activity book. Logan regularly breaks the fourth wall to address her narrator and the audience. Readers are asked to sketch suspects (moles) and find evildoers (moles) in the illustrations. Twenty pages of extra activities (along with the admonishment to only write in the book if it belongs to you to avoid the wrath of librarians) follow the satisfyingly silly story.

Mystery (and humor) mavens will eagerly await future cases. (Graphic/mystery hybrid. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-316-24271-4

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff

THE GREAT SHELBY HOLMES

From the Shelby Holmes series , Vol. 1

A modern Sherlock Holmes retelling brings an 11-year-old black John Watson into the sphere of know-it-all 9-year-old white detective Shelby Holmes.

John's an Army brat who's lived in four states already. Now, with his parents' divorce still fresh, the boy who's lived only on military bases must explore the wilds of Harlem. His new life in 221A Baker St. begins inauspiciously, as before he's even finished moving in, his frizzy-haired neighbor blows something up: "BOOM!" But John's great at making friends, and Shelby certainly seems like an interesting kid to know. Oddly loquacious, brusque, and extremely observant, Shelby's locally famous for solving mysteries. John’s swept up in her detecting when a wealthy, brown-skinned classmate enlists their help in the mysterious disappearance of her beloved show dog, Daisy. Whatever could have happened to the prizewinning Cavalier King Charles spaniel? Has she been swiped by a jealous competitor? Has Daisy’s trainer—mysteriously come into enough money to take a secret weekend in Cozumel—been placing bets against his own dog? Brisk pacing, likable characters, a few silly Holmes jokes ("I'm Petunia Cumberbatch," says Shelby while undercover), and a diverse neighborhood, carefully and realistically described by John, are ingredients for success.

A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff . (Mystery. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68119-051-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Flimsily entertaining

THE SECRET OF WHITE STONE GATE

From the Black Hollow Lane series , Vol. 2

An American schoolgirl in a British boarding school battles a secret society in this adventure.

In this trope-y sequel to The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane (2019), the students at Wellsworth must stay safe from the evil order that’s been there for generations and still entangles their parents. Emmy, a white, well-to-do Connecticut 12-year-old, is determined to return to Wellsworth even though last year she was nearly killed. The Order of Black Hollow Lane, the mysterious bad guys who are disguised as the school’s Latin Society, want something from Emmy. Her long-lost father, for one, and Emmy’s box of medallions, for another. Why? Do they really need a reason aside from being an evil club full of wickedness determined to find a whole box of MacGuffins that will somehow make them even richer and more powerful or at least propel the plot? In any case the dastardly fiends plague Emmy, framing one of her best friends for theft and leaving cryptic notes and computer files to threaten the lives of Emmy’s loved ones. Though the Order has infiltrated this (nearly all-white, wealthy) school for generations, Emmy must somehow defeat them and save her dad. The quest is peppered with spy-thriller moments that are mostly only thinly sketched and go nowhere, though some (such as a disguise right out of Scooby Doo cartoons) are funny enough to keep the action moving.

Flimsily entertaining . (Adventure. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6467-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sourcebooks Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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