Horrible Harry and the Secret Treasure

by Suzy Kline
illustrated by Amy Wummer

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Harry loves to solve mysteries but this time he sets out to mystify everyone in 3B, but Mary specifically. He uses a highly desirable prize for her if she can crack the case. In return, Mary will make a poster that says “Harry Spooger is the Fifth Best Detective in the World,” behind other greats like Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple. Mary must follow Harry’s clues to identify the secret he has hidden in his giant suitcase.


The kids from 3B pitch in to help Mary, even to the point of everyone sneaking in to Grampa Spooger’s nursing home. Song Lee figures out that the secret treasure is a musical instrument played by one of Harry’s ancestors which becomes the centerpiece of the afternoon’s entertainment at the nursing home.

The kids in 3B continue to delight. Their personalities ring true. The clues are easy to follow but still provide a surprise, making the mystery challenging enough for all the characters to pitch in and keep the reader guessing. There’s a real spirit of cooperation as classmates help Mary even when there is nothing in it for them but solving the puzzle. The problem is introduced early and reinforced frequently. It’s not easy to be a detective. Everyone comes away with a new appreciation for Harry.

A perfect companion activity would be a reading worksheet that allows students to “Be the Detective.” Either as a class read aloud or a reading center, the students can keep their own list of clues. Can they solve the mystery before the big reveal? It will really challenge those second-grade detectives!

This is another popular series for the second grade reader. Series are comfortable for readers because they offer familiar characters in new and exciting situations. Read more Horrible Harry stories:

  • Horrible HarryTITLE: Horrible Harry and the Secret Treasure
  • AUTHOR: Suzy Kline
  • ILLUSTRATOR: Amy Wummer
  • PUBLISHER: 2011, Viking, 68 pages, realistic fiction
  • REVIEWER: Risa Brown
  • ISBN: 978-0-670-01181-0

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