In Mickey Rangel’s fifth mystery, like many kids his age, the title character is faced with a new kid in class who is less than welcoming. But how do you help someone who doesn’t want to change?
Readers first see Mickey at the breakfast table with his parents and twin brother, Ricky, as he fills them in on his current plight. The new kid in school, Marco, is “mean as a skunk” and a full-on bully. After not just witnessing Marco’s cruel behavior, but experiencing it firsthand when Marco punches him in the stomach to keep him quiet, Mickey decides he has to do something. Using his skills as a private investigator (don’t worry, he has a certificate!), Mickey begins to speak with and interview other students and teachers about how to handle a bully. A quick search of the internet provides some kidcentric help from www.stopbullying.gov/index.html (an actual website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) and gives him the final answers he needs to solve this real-world problem. Readers may wish for a bit more sleuthing since the story is quick and perhaps resolves rather too quickly. However, it’s a solid resource for younger kids to learn about how best to tackle a bully and how to find your voice and speak up for not only yourself, but those around you. Baeza Ventura’s Spanish translation immediately follows the English story.
A welcome return to Mickey’s primarily Latinx world. (Mystery. 8-12)