Gr 1-3-Leah, Sara, and Aimee, ages seven, eight, and nine, are in desperate need of a good mystery to solve. After forming the "Criss, Cross, Applesauce Detective Agency," they receive brief assignments from Leah's newspaper-reporter father. The cases involve meeting people in their neighborhood, including a hairdresser who recently emigrated from Hungary and an animal-rescue volunteer. It is a concern that the stories center on the children meeting strangers without adult supervision. In Puppies, the friends try to help a malnourished dog but are chased away by his abusive owner. They walk away from this potentially dangerous situation, but the problem is not resolved in a satisfying manner, especially considering the fact that the author is making a point about animal rescue. Discussion questions and activities round out the books. Primitive black-and-white sketches do not enhance the content and the proofreading marks that are intentionally sprinkled throughout the text make for an awkward reading experience.-Kathleen Meulen, Blakely Elementary School, Bainbridge Island, WA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.