Introducing Echo and his mystery-solving Bat Pack!
Echo the bat grew up in a library and lives in the Fogville cemetery, where it's usually quiet. He likes quiet because he writes mysteries. Then a mysterious, skull-faced stranger in a black cloak arrives in the middle of the night. He seems to be searching for something. When his raven sidekick discovers Echo watching, a scary chase ensues. Thankfully, the Silver kids, Becca, Michael and Tyler, are still awake, and they rescue Echo. A series of break-ins in the days that follow prompts neighbors to tell tales of a spooky flying monster in a cloak. Can it be the stranger from the graveyard? Echo and his new friends (and the ghost of Captain Trafalgar) work to discover the truth (and maybe a treasure). Italian children's author and teacher Pavanello's Bat Pack series debuts in America with this first of four not-too-frightening tales of mystery and monsters. A few odd attempts at colloquialism stick out in the translation, but the language is simple enough for those just graduating from easy readers. Pisapia and Brughera's bright, cartoon illustrations are a plus (though, strangely, the Silver siblings look nothing alike).
Scooby Doo as a bat for the chapter-book crowd. (Mystery. 6-9)