"Fast-paced, well-written book, written in a simple style for young readers. Recommended."
Canadian Book Review Annual
VOYA - Susan Allen
Lunches disappear, and then books for a literacy fundraiser are missing. The books are worth a great deal of money, especially one that was autographed by hockey star Wayne Gretzky. Close friends Nick, Robin, and Trevor decide to become sleuths and find out what is going on. Their detecting makes them suspicious of their teachers and even their librarian. Following leads, they decide to break into a teacher's car, which turns out not to be a great decision. They eventually figure out what is happening with other students' help. This book is part of the Orca Currents series of short, hi-interest novels with reading levels from 2.0 to 4.5 but of interest to middle school students. The characters are well written and believable. The mystery is compelling and will pull students, making them curious about what is actually going on. It is a great read for anyone but certain to catch the eye and interest of reluctant readers.
KLIATT - Sherri Ginsberg
This short mystery begins with stolen lunches. The middle school students are in a quandary over who is taking food. They get into sleuth mode when they are asked to help out in the library and discover that someone is stealing valuable books. It's an enticing, easy-to-read tale that will have readers trying to solve the mysteries.
Children's Literature - Christina M. Desai
This school-based mystery concerns the theft of students' lunches and the more serious theft of a rare book signed by hockey great Wayne Gretzky, donated to the school library. An amateur detective threesome is determined to catch the thief and save the job and reputation of the school librarian. The story has much that will appeal to its audience: the lure of forbidden places and after-dark escapades, the temptation to neglect homework for detecting, the pursuit of information on the Internet, a food fight, and of course the thrill of solving mysteries. However, it is marred by inconsistencies in narrative voice and awkward passages. For example, though Trevor tells us he never puts his lunch in his locker and successfully avoids further loss by keeping bells inside as he carries it around, a few pages later his lunch is missing from his locker. In another awkward passage, Trevor says "I was almost able to ignore my hunger pangs and choke down part of Robyn's pickle sandwich" (p. 55), when surely it was only because of the hunger pangs that he could manage to choke down this revolting meal. The book's computer-speak is particularly unconvincing, as in "Cray punched a few buttons on the keyboard" (p. 99). The central messages of the story, however, are clear and positive. As the quarrelsome detectives work on solving the mysteries, they affirm the value of libraries and librarians (though this librarian is strangely ignorant about search technology). Lead character Trevor's repeated insistence that the group rely on evidence rather than feelings toward the various suspects is ultimately vindicated. This title is part of the "Orca Currents" series.
School Library Journal
For reluctant readers and those who are struggling with language, this book provides the perfect melding of text and content. The plot is fast moving and the content is delivered on a 3.0 reading level. Some middle-grade friends have taken it upon themselves to be investigators. Their school has been undergoing some thefts of late, with lunch swiping and valuable books missing from the library, and these students mean to get to the bottom of it. While solving the missing lunch mystery, the friends land in detention, which takes place in the library, and they are able to begin their second investigation. This part of the story does not really demonstrate being a responsible investigator. While one teacher cautions against vigilantism, the kids accuse a teacher, the librarian, and, finally, agree to pay $6K on an online auction in order to catch the perpetrator. Still, this is an entertaining and easy-to-read choice.
Emily GarrettCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
"Do you want Mrs. Pringle gone forever, her reputation tarnished? She'd never get another job if she's charged with theft. She'll end up with no money, no house, stuffing old newspapers into her boots to keep her feet warm in the winter!" Robyn's voice rose. She sniffed.
I rolled my eyes. "Robyn, get a grip! No one's talking about a crime, here."
"How did you know? Maybe someone took that book and tried to sell it," Robyn retorted.
"And how would a person sell something like that, Robyn? A garage sale?" I shook my head.