An optimistic series beginning for young mystery fans.

READ REVIEW

THE CASE OF THE SNACK SNATCHER

From the West Meadows Detectives series , Vol. 1

His atypical brain helps an aspiring, autistic sleuth crack a case.

Asked to write an acrostic of his name, Myron can't think of anything beyond the first word, "Mysteries." Myron is autistic, he tells a girl in his new class for kids with special needs; it means his brain works differently. It makes his head buzz when he's upset; it makes perfume and new situations overwhelming. It also makes him a persistent detective. Luckily, he encounters a mystery on his first day: someone has stolen the snacks from the school kitchen. With his reasoning skills and the help of his energetic new friend, Hajrah, Myron is determined to catch the snack snatchers. The simple mystery introduces deductive reasoning, and Myron's voice clues readers in to both his autism and sympathetic, occasionally humorous, earnestness. ("I don't see the point in kicking a ball across a field. It would be much easier to pick it up and carry it.") Like his acrostic, Myron's logical, literal narration reveals more plot than personality yet promises further development. He genuinely enjoys sleuthing (his affectionate dog is even named Columbo), deals with bullies, and makes friends; through Grand's animated illustrations, his facial expressions range from scowls and knitted brows to a wide grin. Autistic detective characters may have become slightly stereotypical, but O'Donnell gives Myron something they rarely get: opportunities to smile.

An optimistic series beginning for young mystery fans. (Mystery. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-77147-069-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd.

THE MISSING BASEBALL

From the Zach and Zoe Mysteries series , Vol. 1

Lupica kicks off a new series starring a pair of 8-year-old twins who solve sports-themed mysteries.

Even the pleasures of competing in various events during his school’s Spirit Week dim a smidge for Zach Walker when the prized autographed baseball he brings to his third-grade class for show and tell vanishes. Happily, his bookish but equally sports-loving sister, Zoe, is on the case, and by the time of the climactic baseball game at week’s end, she has pieced together clues and deductions that lead to the lost treasure—which had not been stolen but batted through an open window by the teacher’s cat and stashed in a storage shed by the custodian. In the co-published sequel, The Half-Court Hero, the equally innocuous conundrum hangs on the identity of the mysterious “guardian angel” who is fixing up a run-down playground basketball court. Along with plenty of suspenseful sports action, the author highlights in both tales the values of fair play, teamwork, and doing the “right thing.” The Walker family presents white, but in both the narrative and Danger’s appropriately bland (if inappropriately static) illustrations, the supporting cast shows some racial and ethnic diversity.

Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-425-28936-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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Perhaps the captain’s next outing will find all its elements in better sync.

CAPTAIN COCONUT AND THE CASE OF THE MISSING BANANAS

From the Captain Coconut series , Vol. 1

Part clever Sherlock Holmes, part bumbling Maxwell Smart, the turbaned Capt. Coconut is a new detective on the scene.

He sets out to solve a case involving the three members of an Indian household: Mrs. Y, her sister, and her nephew, Gilli. Mrs. Y bought 14 bananas, but some are missing. She can account for four—they were eaten—but only six can still be found. After using his calculator to perform the simple mathematical task involved, the detective quickly realizes how many are gone, but the determined sleuth must still find the perpetrator. References, visual and verbal, to Bollywood musical interludes and vaudeville slapstick (remember banana peels) spice up the action, but the math is not complex enough for readers who have the sophistication to enjoy the dry wit and the unusual collage panels of this short graphic novel. The foolish detective, with his round belly sticking out of his safari suit and his red knee socks matching his red paisley nose, can’t open his office door or start his scooter, but of course he does finally solve the mystery. Suffice it to say, an unpleasant stomach ailment provides a clue. Creative readers can provide their own tunes for the three original songs, and the digital collages are filled with zany retro details.

Perhaps the captain’s next outing will find all its elements in better sync. (Graphic mystery. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-93-83145-22-5

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Tara Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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