Everyone wants to be a Goofball in this little town, and readers will want to follow their cases in the future. That #1 on...

THE CRAZY CASE OF MISSING THUNDER

From the Goofballs series , Vol. 1

Best friends, Mara, Kelly, Brian and Jeff are self-styled Goofball private eyes who solve unusual mysteries.

A private eye has to notice everything, and narrator Jeff and his three goofy friends notice every clue, even when they don’t realize its importance. Jeff just notes it down in his trusty clue book, because you never know when something might matter. When Randall Crandall calls the Goofballs to solve the mystery of his missing horse, Thunder, they call on all their detective skills in order to find Randall’s equine buddy. Short sentences, ample white space, oversized font, silly situations and punny wordplay make this a good choice for readers just ready for chapter books. Though some of the plot twists are downright ridiculous—the Goofballs successfully turn themselves into bushes, for instance—the overall story will satisfy young mystery readers with a funny bone. Charming black-and-white illustrations dot most spreads, helping new readers follow the tricky parts. According to the illustrations, Brian is African-American, a welcome touch in a genre where kids of color are often absent.

Everyone wants to be a Goofball in this little town, and readers will want to follow their cases in the future. That #1 on the spine ensures that there will be many more adventures from these goofy friends. (Mystery. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60684-164-8

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Egmont USA

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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

THE DIAMOND MYSTERY

From the Whodunit Detective Agency series , Vol. 1

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 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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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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