An enjoyable twisty mystery and coming-of-age story.

NOBODY KILLS UNCLE BUSTER AND GETS AWAY WITH IT

A 12-year-old investigates suspicious circumstances surrounding a death in this middle-grade novel.

Sixth grader Sam Parsons, 12, isn’t enthused about accompanying his mother to the funeral of his great-uncle Buster. But Sam’s mom, Eva, insists, so they drive from Jacksonville, Florida, to Ashe County, North Carolina. Right away, things don’t seem right at Uncle Buster’s. He’s said to have died of a heart attack, but there are wounds on his hands, and no autopsy was performed. A fishy will leaves everything to his sisters, and they plan to sell his land for a tasteless tourist development; his books and papers have disappeared. Sam is “convinced that somebody murdered Uncle Buster. And I’m not about to let them get away with it.” Back in Jacksonville, Sam mulls over the case; meanwhile, his ambition to befriend Joey Sabatini (Joey’s father works for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sam’s favorite team) brings him into conflict with his best friend, Oscar Ruiz, and gets him in trouble at school. When Eva’s doubts grow, the family makes a return trip to North Carolina, where suspicions lead to arsenic poisoning. The clues are all there, but what do they add up to? In her second children’s book, Koehler offers a clever mystery with an appealing narrator. Sam is intelligent and observant, earning him praise by a local sheriff as “a fine detective.” Koehler does a great job of keeping him, as well as the reader, guessing through multiple convincing red herrings. In this entertaining mystery, Sam grows as a person. His desire to join Joey’s cool lacrosse crowd challenges him to reflect on friendship, loyalty, and empathy while a school project awakens a new interest in nature conservation.

An enjoyable twisty mystery and coming-of-age story.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-947536-07-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Turtle Cove Press

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Though usually cast as the trickster, Coyote is more victim than victimizer, making this a nice complement to other Coyote...

COYOTE TALES

Two republished tales by a Greco-Cherokee author feature both folkloric and modern elements as well as new illustrations.

One of the two has never been offered south of the (Canadian) border. In “Coyote Sings to the Moon,” the doo-wop hymn sung nightly by Old Woman and all the animals except tone-deaf Coyote isn’t enough to keep Moon from hiding out at the bottom of the lake—until she is finally driven forth by Coyote’s awful wailing. She has been trying to return to the lake ever since, but that piercing howl keeps her in the sky. In “Coyote’s New Suit” he is schooled in trickery by Raven, who convinces him to steal the pelts of all the other animals while they’re bathing, sends the bare animals to take clothes from the humans’ clothesline, and then sets the stage for a ruckus by suggesting that Coyote could make space in his overcrowded closet by having a yard sale. No violence ensues, but from then to now humans and animals have not spoken to one another. In Eggenschwiler’s monochrome scenes Coyote and the rest stand on hind legs and (when stripped bare) sport human limbs. Old Woman might be Native American; the only other completely human figure is a pale-skinned girl.

Though usually cast as the trickster, Coyote is more victim than victimizer, making this a nice complement to other Coyote tales. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55498-833-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers.

DON'T READ THIS BOOK BEFORE BED

THRILLS, CHILLS, AND HAUNTINGLY TRUE STORIES

A compendium of paranormal doings, natural horrors, and eerie wonders worldwide and (in several senses) beyond.

Maladroit title aside (“…in Bed” would make more sense, cautionwise), this collection of hauntings, cryptids, natural and historical mysteries, and general titillation (“Vampire bats might be coming for you!”) offers a broad array of reasons to stay wide awake. Arranged in no discernible order the 60-plus entries include ghostly sightings in the White House and various castles, body-burrowing guinea worms, the Nazca lines of Peru, Mothman and Nessie, the hastily abandoned city of Pripyat (which, thanks to the Chernobyl disaster, may be habitable again…in 24,000 years), monarch-butterfly migrations, and diverse rains of fish, frogs, fireballs, and unidentified slime. Each is presented in a busy whirl of narrative blocks, photos, graphics, side comments, and arbitrary “Fright-O-Meter” ratings (Paris’ “Creepy Catacombs” earn just a “4” out of 10 and black holes a “3,” but the aforementioned aerial amphibians a full “10”). The headers tend toward the lurid: “Jelly From Space,” “Zombie Ants,” “Mongolian Death Worm.” Claybourne sprinkles multiple-choice pop quizzes throughout for changes of pace.

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2841-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more