The Case of the Piggy Bank Thief (A First Kids Mystery)
Written by Martha Freeman
Excitement surrounds an archaeological dig in the fourth First Kids Mystery. Cammie and Tessa return as the daughters of the first female President and immediately go into action. In the midst of dogs, cats, and canaries running wild, Tessa’s piggy bank goes missing. Tessa refuses to tell Cammie why the bank is so important, despite the low monetary balance inside. Meanwhile, archaeologists are digging in an area of the grounds thought to contain remnants from the burning of the White House during the War of 1812. Mysterious, unauthorized holes have appeared at the dig. Also, their friend, Dr. Maynard, is due to receive a presidential medal. So, Cammie gathers all the information she can about the piggy bank and the holes. The kids get a special tour of the coin collection at the National Museum of American History. Naturally, they find the bank and the artifact that makes it valuable and the kids end up being heroes.
The author deftly helps comprehension by having characters explain terms that may have been a little beyond second grade reading level. For example, coins are important to the plot, so Dr. Maynard helps Tessa with the definition and pronunciation of numismatic. Readers get a chance to learn about the history of money and of the White House. They also learn about archaeological digs. The author includes an extensive afterword to help in further exploration. Reading activities might include further study, or, as suggested in the text, the beginnings of a coin collection. Just see how many dates you can find in your pocket.