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)