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The sinister Emperor Moth has captured Mimi, a lovely butterfly with a past. Meanwhile, Leon Leafwing, in love with Mimi and desperate to rescue her, enlists the aid of Spider Kane, the Sherlock Holmes of the bug world, who leads a perilous rescue mission to the Emperor's rotting palace deep in the Dark Swamp. The kidnapping and rescue all prove to be an elaborate charade, designed to test Leon's mettle and determine whether he's brave and dependable enough to join the Order of the MOTH, an elite band devoted to solving mysteries and fighting injustice. Using skills honed in her realistic novels (Last One Home, 1987), Osborne differentiates a sizable cast of creepy-crawly characters and will keep readers guessing; the clothed creatures in Chess's numerous b&w illustrations have her amusing trademark moon faces with prominent noses and round white eyes. A quality book that may need booktalking to find its audience—many children young enough to like a story in which all the characters are bugs will not be able to read it. Adults who read the book aloud will be rewarded with a novel sendup of the Genteel Amateur Sleuth genre. A sequel is in the works. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-679-80855-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1992

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From the Whodunit Detective Agency series , Vol. 1

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

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 27, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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From the Ballpark Mysteries series , Vol. 1

A new series for emerging chapter-book readers combines the allure of baseball parks with the challenge of solving a mystery. Mike and Kate have tickets to a Red Sox game and an all-access pass to the park, courtesy of Kate's mom, a sportswriter. The pass comes in handy when it's reported that star player Big D's lucky bat has been stolen, as it allows them to help find the thief. Historical details about Fenway Park, including the secret code found on the manual scoreboard, a look at Wally the mascot and a peek into the gift shop, will keep the young baseball fan reading, even when the actual mystery of the missing bat falls a little flat. Writing mysteries for very young readers is a challenge—the puzzle has to be easy enough to solve while sustaining readers' interest. This slight adventure is more baseball-park travel pamphlet than mystery, a vehicle for providing interesting details about one of the hallowed halls of baseball. Not a homerun, but certainly a double for the young enthusiast. On deck? The Pinstripe Ghost, also out on Feb. 22, 2011. (historical notes) (Mystery. 6-9)



Pub Date: Feb. 22, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86703-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2011

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