Patterns, codes, mysteries, and storytelling are an appealing middle-grade draw.

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THE STORY SEEKER

A NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BOOK

From the Story Collector series , Vol. 2

An intrepid lover of stories and her two best friends crack the case of the missing library books.

Viviani and her family, based in fact, live in the superintendent’s apartment of the New York Public Library in the 1920s. She and her brothers and friends solved a spooky mystery in their first outing, The Story Collector (2018). Now the librarians are dealing with the theft of several rare and irreplaceable medical books. Noticing a pattern to the thefts, Viviani is determined to solve the case. At the same time, she is excited to enter a writing contest for the New York Times about friendship. With Millions of Cats as her inspiration, the proudly self-styled “story collector” wins the contest. Tubb portrays the 11-year-old as an unabashed book enthusiast with a fondness for codes. The major characters all present as white with exceptions in the form of friends Eva from Armenia and Merit from Egypt—with Viviani, they become a trio known as the Moppets. With librarians who possess a special shushing power, a tuberculosis epidemic, and a theatrical outing, readers get a brief glimpse of period New York City life. Each chapter is labeled with a Dewey Decimal subject and number as well as see-also references. The answers to the codes that help solve the crime are revealed in the back of the book. (Black-and-white full-page line drawings not seen.)

Patterns, codes, mysteries, and storytelling are an appealing middle-grade draw. (author’s note) (Historical mystery. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30109-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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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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