An optimistic series beginning for young mystery fans.


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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Nicely paced, with just the right number of red herrings to keep readers thinking; they will hope the number 1 on the spine...


From the Whodunit Detective Agency series , Vol. 1

Jerry and Maya, classmates and friends, spend their spare time solving mysteries in their hometown of Pleasant Valley in this Swedish import.

Things are not so pleasant for Mohammed Carat, the richest man in Pleasant Valley. His world-famous jewelry store is losing money; apparently, one of his employees is stealing valuable diamonds and gems. The police are no help, so Mr. Carat turns to the youngsters for help. Each employee is a suspect: Vivian is in money trouble, former owner Danny wants his store back, and Luke’s flashy spending is suspicious. Jerry and Maya are hired to help out around the shop—washing windows, taking out the trash and so forth—but really they are there to watch the employees, both from inside the shop and from the church tower next door. Young mystery aficionados will enjoy solving the puzzle along with Maya and Jerry and will admire their observational powers. Full-color cartoon illustrations add much to the story, helping readers to see what the young gumshoes do. A map of Pleasant Valley and an illustrated cast of characters are provided in the early pages, allowing new readers an excellent reference tool to keep the many characters straight.

Nicely paced, with just the right number of red herrings to keep readers thinking; they will hope the number 1 on the spine indicates that this is the first of many Maya and Jerry mysteries. (Mystery. 7-9)

Pub Date: July 31, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48067-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd.


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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