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Summary: Summer is plenty hot and getting hotter. It's bad enough that the Hobart brothers are bullying Stirling and taking the money he earned selling newspapers, but Kit's plan to write a newspaper article about A Midsummer Night's Dream dies when Rose, the theater owner shuts down the play after one showing. When Kit and Stirling agree to volunteer at the theater while the cast rehearses MacBeth they had no idea the trouble to come: someone is stealing money from the box office and trying to burn down the theater. Will Kit and Stirling solve the mystery before someone REALLY gets hurt? This is a middle grade novel set in the early 1940s and World War II.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, independent reading
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 10; read yourself: 9 to 12
Interest Level: 8 to 12
Age of Child: Read with and by an 8-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: Once we got started with the book, our daughter wanted "more" every night. She even took it to school to read so she could help find the thief. The story got her very interested in detective work and acting like an investigator.
Adult Reader Reaction: We really enjoyed this story and were happy to see her so excited about a book. American Girl "stuff" has never been part of her life, and I was thrilled to see that it had no impact on her enjoyment of a good story.
Pros: Kit and Stirling are great characters. Kids will see themselves but also wish they could be like them. The mystery keeps you guessing until close to the end.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a great story and part of what is probably a wonderful collection. You don't have to be "in" to American Girl to like the book ... and it didn't spawn an interest, either.
Educational Themes: Although it is largely in the background, there is great information about life in the 1940s. There are other themes you can explore bullying, safety, volunteerism, and even crime. There are a number of logical spots to stop reading and do some predictions or go over what is known, what isn't known, and then check how the case progresses.
Notes: The Reading Tub® picked up this book at Book Expo America 2009. There are no expectations of review associated with this book.
Literary Categories: Fiction - mystery, crime, adventure, series book
Date(s) Reviewed: May 2010
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