Written by Martin Widmark
Illustrated by Helena Willis
Kids love to solve mysteries and this third mystery in The Whodunit Detective Agency series is a fun one. Circus tents and balloon sellers bring excitement to town that can only be topped by a backpack wearing money who bows at his costumers.
Stolen cell phones and lost wallets raise crowd tensions between shows and get the local sheriff involved. His friends and sometimes crime stopper helpers, Jerry and Maya, come to the show intent on solving it.
Newly independent grade three and grade four readers will enjoy this mystery they can solve on their own to solve the crime. Clues are cleverly placed and details explained. Large font on clean white paper make the book approachable. Full color sketches keep the readers entertained and take them right into the circus tents.
Readers will enjoy getting to know Jerry and Maya and will look forward to more crime solving with them in their town of Pleasant Valley as the series continues.
Maps of the town as well as a gallery of characters who will appear in the story are presented in the beginning pages inviting readers to jump in and get to know them even before the story begins. Parents, teachers and librarians can get reluctant readers involved in this series by reading a chapter or two aloud. Or by using the technique, you read a page and then I’ll read a page.
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- Title: The Whodunit Detective Agency: The Circus Mystery
- Author: Martin Widmark
- Illustrator: Helena Willis
- Publisher: Grosset Dunlap/Penguin
- Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
- Format: Paperback, 2015
- ISBN: 978-0-448-48070-1
- Genre: Fiction, Mystery
- Grade level: 2 to 4
Written by Lynda Beauregard
Illustrated by Der-Shing Helmer
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It’s Megan’s first year at Camp Dakota. There are campers to meet and mysteries to solve. What happened to the cuckoo clock? Why can’t the campers stay on top of the beach ball in the water? How come Megan is taller in the morning than she is at night? Gravity rules in Book #5 of the Summer Camp Science Mysteries Series.
The Missing Cuckoo Clock is a graphic novel that will delight reluctant readers in the second grade level. Multi-cultural campers are depicted in a bold graphic style. The text is entertaining and educational. With more educational material than an average comic book, it will also be appreciated by teachers.
The storyline acts as a pegboard on which to hang real-life examples of gravity in action. Blue fact boxes scattered through the cartoon panels offer explanations about how gravity works. Camp Dakota campers watch as lifeguard J.D. demonstrates centre of gravity. They giggle as they try to stand against a wall with heels together and try to pick up a quarter on the floor. They make a gravity clock with water. Each of the mini-experiments found throughout the story can be easily be duplicated by teachers and students.
A glossary and gravity fact list are found at the back of the novel. There are also two official experiments for second grade students to perform. In “Uphill Battle”, they can see how gravity makes a round object roll uphill. In “Making a Pendulum”, students test changes in weight and length against the swing rate.
This is a fun book liberally sprinkled with serious science!
- Title: The Missing Cuckoo Clock
- Author: Lynda Beauregard
- Illustrator: Der-Shing Helmer
- Publisher: Graphic Universe
- Reviewer: Megan Kopp
- Paperback: 48 Pages
- ISBN: 978-1-4677-0733-6
- Genre: Mystery / Science / Graphic Novel