This is a solid and growing detective series for transitioning readers, with a dyslexic multicultural heroine—an inspiring...

READ REVIEW

LARK AND THE DESSERT DISASTER

From the Lark Ba Detective series

Lark and Connor Ba, twin detectives, are back at work when the town’s annual baking contest starts off with a sabotaged sweet.

The fourth book in this chapter book’s series finds Lark Ba, the spunky and personable heroine, logically outlining the steps to find the culprit. Before the baking competition began, everyone thought Sophie, Lark’s classmate, would win first prize. When her babushka’s kutia pudding is found splattered on the ground, the whole event is in jeopardy. Who would do such a thing? With their distinctive banter, the mixed-race Ba twins (of Korean and Kenyan descent) carefully search for clues, their methodical process encouraging readers to solve the mystery along with them. Cutler’s illustrations set the emotional tone of the story, showing a wide range of reactions from the familiar, notably diverse cast of characters. As in the rest of this series, Deen serves up notable side dishes while the detectives search for the main course. Lark continues to struggle with vocabulary words and jargon, an issue all new readers will recognize. With her trademark humor, she reaches for (and misses) complex vocabulary words that are revealed in the backmatter. Even with these challenges, careful logic and thoroughness earn the Ba twins the respect of the town’s adults.

This is a solid and growing detective series for transitioning readers, with a dyslexic multicultural heroine—an inspiring role model for today’s world. (Mystery. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4598-2067-8

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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THE FENWAY FOUL-UP

BALLPARK MYSTERIES, #1

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. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2011

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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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