First, Slurpy the goldfish gets fishnapped! Then, other things in Ms. Herschel's classroom start to disappear. Odder still, the culprit leaves poetry behind. Whatever fishy business is going on, Edgar plans to uncover it with the help of his crime investigation notebook. But Edgar has a rival. Know-it-all Patrick Chen plans to solve the case first with totally unfair help from his forensic-specialist father. With parents who are clowns, Edgar knows he is on his own. Or is he? Can prime suspects become ...
First, Slurpy the goldfish gets fishnapped! Then, other things in Ms. Herschel's classroom start to disappear. Odder still, the culprit leaves poetry behind. Whatever fishy business is going on, Edgar plans to uncover it with the help of his crime investigation notebook. But Edgar has a rival. Know-it-all Patrick Chen plans to solve the case first with totally unfair help from his forensic-specialist father. With parents who are clowns, Edgar knows he is on his own. Or is he? Can prime suspects become crime-solving partners? As Edgar investigates, he discovers a secret about friendship that will change his whole life.
We know about kidnapping, and dognapping has been the theme of 101 Dalmatians and a slew of other stories. But fishnapping? This may be the first in all of children's literature. But a fish is only the beginning. Soon, the thief is back. More items disappear from the classroom, Edgar Allan becomes more determined than find out who is behind such criminal mischief. If there is one thing he strives to succeed at, it is this, and his and his aim is to beat his rival, Patrick Chen, in solving the case. Edgar's skills of observation are an important part of his investigation, and he finds himself watching several possible culprits closely, including Taz, Destiny and Kip. What he learns about ultimately helps move them from Edgar Allan's suspects list to his friends list. We should all be so wary of the people we encounter. Another clever book about friendship and language from the imaginative Amato, this is sure to be a hit with young mystery readers. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—The kids at Wordsmith Elementary School get a lesson on poetry when a thief stages a series of classroom thefts, leaving behind small poems at the scene of the crime. Edgar Allan keeps notes in his crime journal and writes some verses of his own as his classmates compete to solve the mystery. He thinks his home life is strange with his parents both employed as clowns, but when he learns more about the thoughts and personal lives of his classmates through the poetry they write, he gains a deeper understanding of himself and his community. With characters like Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett and a teacher who drinks Tennyson Tea, readers will get thinly veiled lessons describing alliteration, meter, and metaphor. The mystery is a bit slow to unfold and plotlines overlap with Edgar always making observations that cause him to seem way older than a fifth grader. However, readers who stick with it will appreciate the conclusion that itself is a poetic play. The author successfully delivers the theme that a poem is truly a gift. A good springboard for introducing poetry units.—Cheryl Ashton, Amherst Public Library, OH
A mystery, a school story, sibling rivalry and the loss of a pet blend surprisingly well in this engaging chapter book. Charmingly awkward fifth grader Edgar Allan decides to solve a series of minor thefts that are plaguing his teacher, Ms. Herschel. Clues are plentiful—and rhymed—but the competition to solve them is fierce. Edgar's nemesis, Patrick Chen, seems to have the inside track since his dad works in forensics. Edgar, however, finds that the friends he makes along the way provide the winning edge. Including transcripts of Edgar's ingenuous interviews as well as poems written by a number of class members in her narrative, Amato provides a clear picture of both social and family dynamics while keeping the story moving smoothly along. The author's characteristic humor is somewhat muted, but examples of amusing wordplay abound. Some readers may guess the identity of the culprit more quickly than Edgar and his friends do, but whodunit is notreally the point. Solving puzzles, making friends and learning to see the world more clearly are the true aims of this adventure. (Mystery. 7-10)