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"A smaller percentage of 17 year olds saw adults reading in their homes in 1999 than in 1984." More

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Author: Mary Amato

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Publisher: Holiday House,

Material: Galley

Summary: The thief is a poet - or is it the poet is a thief? First Slurpy, then a keychain ... Ms. Herschel's classroom is thief magnet! Convinced that he will solve the crime first, Edgar Allen starts a notebook. But he's not the only junior detective at Wordsmith Elementary. Solving the crime becomes a contest and a testament to friendship, judging others, and jumping to conclusions! This is an upper elementary / middle grade mystery with lessons and poetry, too.

Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, independent reading

Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 10; read yourself: 9 to 13

Interest Level: 5 to 8

Reading Level: 4.3

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: I loved this book! The students in Ms. Herschel's class are authentic and the story is fun. We see the world largely through Edgar's eyes, not just at school, but at home too. The word play, references to great poets, and "revisions" of their work makes this all the more unique.

Pros: When you put it all together: mystery + humor + short chapters + rhyme and you have a story that is perfect for all readers.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. Even after the mystery is solved, you'll enjoy going back to some of the clever, original poetry that peppers the story. It is the perfect book to pull out every April for National Poetry Month.

If You Liked This Book, Try: HUMPTY DUMPTY JR.: Hardboiled Detective: The Case of the Fiendish Flapjack Flop   IF PHOTOS COULD TALK; A SAM & STEPHANIE MYSTERY   MISS MARY'S MISSING BOOK BAG

Educational Themes: There are a ton of poetry and poetry concepts woven into the story. Whether you pull them out as you read along or go back and study them after the mystery is solved, you have a lot to work with to bring this book to life.

Notes: The publisher donated an advance review copy (ARC) of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - mystery, crime, life lessons, friendship, poetry, middle grade

Date(s) Reviewed: April 2014

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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