Inspired by a movie shown at the local gym (with the whole town in attendance), 11-year-old Leon (aka Thumb) wants to track down a bad guy. After all, without bad guys, the Harry Potter books would just be stories about school. And he wouldn't mind being known as the Jake Danger of New Auckland. But with only 143 people in his remote British Columbia fishing village, surrounded by mountains and ocean, how could there even be any bad guys around? And where would they hide? But Thumb is determined, so he and his ...
Inspired by a movie shown at the local gym (with the whole town in attendance), 11-year-old Leon (aka Thumb) wants to track down a bad guy. After all, without bad guys, the Harry Potter books would just be stories about school. And he wouldn't mind being known as the Jake Danger of New Auckland. But with only 143 people in his remote British Columbia fishing village, surrounded by mountains and ocean, how could there even be any bad guys around? And where would they hide? But Thumb is determined, so he and his pal Susan conduct a stakeout. Their suspicions soon focus on bald, toothless old Kirk McKenna, who has the revolting habit of spitting on the sidewalk. Meanwhile, a new teacher, the odd Ms. Weatherby, has arrived in town wearing heavy makeup and a terrible wig. Maybe she's the "bad guy" they're seeking. Will the determined duo find their villain?
Twelve-year-old Thumb and his best friend Susan live in a small fishing village on the Canadian coast. They know all 142 people in their village and they believe their lives are safe and a bit boring compared to the movies they see each Thursday evening at the school gymnasium. To ensure that where they live is truly safe they decide to sneak out of their houses at night, when their parents think they are asleep, and conduct their very own stake out. Just when they think their efforts are a waste of time, and they think they are going to freeze to death, one of their neighbors does something totally unexpected. Thumb and Susan are determined to find out what their neighbor is up to. This is a delightful mystery that will show readers what it means to be a good neighbor, while learning about an event in history, as well. It is also a pleasure to read. Reviewer: Laura J. Brown
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—Thumb and Susan are back in another tale set in British Columbia. Their remote fishing village has no roads, and the weekly supply plane brings them their only form of entertainment: three movies, ice cream, and popcorn. The latest movie stimulates Thumb's overactive imagination comes up with the notion that even small towns can have "bad guys," and the two friends set out to spy on their neighbors. To their surprise, they unearth secrets and mysterious people. A new teacher, Ms. Weatherly, who wears a wig and tons of makeup, becomes an instant suspect in the puzzling events of the village. Fisherman Kirk McKenna arouses suspicion when he is seen sneaking around at night behind a waterfall where a hidden shed is found. When Ms. Weatherly helps the students solve the mystery of an 18th-century cannonball found on the beach, her students learn the real reasons behind her peculiar appearance. Thumb and Susan get the tables turned on them when the townspeople realize that they are the ones sneaking around and plan a surprise ambush. Franson's black-and-white graphic-style illustrations enhance the suspense. With its blend of creepiness, mystery, and humor, this story will be eagerly welcomed by fans of Thumb and Susan, but it stands alone.—Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA
In a hamlet on the coast of British Columbia that is reachable only by air or boat, 12-year-old Thumb is known among the 143 other villagers as the one who plays a trick on newcomers. Along with neighbor Susan, also 12, Thumb finds their lives seem very humdrum compared to those portrayed in the films flown in weekly. Unable to accept the dull routine, Thumb and Susan decide to look for bad guys on the theory that, as universal as they are in film, there must be some around. Adventures that ensue are humorous with a manufactured, slightly scary edge. The arrival of a new teacher who is both weird and enthusiastic adds to the mix-ups. The unusual isolation of the entire village combines with the depth of knowledge its residents have about their neighbors to enhance the underlying sense of safety at the same time it intensifies the danger. Entertaining for children who've moved beyond early readers and want some thrills but who are not ready for too much complexity or fright. (Mystery. 8-12)