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THE AMAZING MEXICAN SECRET (Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures, 5)

Author: Jeff Brown and Josh Greenhut

Illustrator: Macky Pamintuan

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Publisher: Harper, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,

Material: paperback

Summary: Mrs. Lambchop decides to surprise Stanley, Arthur, and their friend Carlos by making huevos rancheros for breakfast. Everyone loved the eggs ... especially the secret spices created by Carlos' great grandmother in Mexico. Mrs. L insisted on getting the recipe and dispatched Stanley in an envelope to go get it! Can it be that easy? This is a transitional chapter book for elementary readers.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, independent reading, read aloud, transitional reader

Recommended Age: read together: 7 to 10; read yourself: 9 to 12

Interest Level: 7 to 10

Reading Level: 3.8

Age of Child: Read with an 8-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: For the first few chapters, we heard "more, more," but that died after a day or two and we couldn't revive an interest in the story. She said that by the time the bad guys showed up she pretty much knew what would happen.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is not the Flat Stanley I remember from school, and I like that he is traveling the world introducing kids to different cultures and language (there is a lot of Spanish mixed in). Still, the story is pretty cliche and predictable. The story moves fast enough, but it isn't one that will be a hit with every reader.

Pros: Readers who like (or need) lots of action will enjoy this fast-paced, lightly illustrated story of a beloved character.

Cons: The story falls a bit flat. I'd like to read another one in the series for comparison.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. The series has potential, but these are read-and-move-on kind of books.

If You Liked This Book, Try: ROSCOE RILEY RULES, 1: Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs   CRIME THROUGH TIME: SWINDLED! The 1906 Journal of Fitz Morgan   THE DREAM STEALER

Educational Themes: The story introduces Mexican culture on multiple levels. Some are explored more in the story itself; others can be launching pads for trying other things: buying cilantro at the store, making Mexican food, studying Mexican history. The story also has a lot of Spanish words mixed in, and creating a journal with them could be fun.

Notes: The publisher donated a copy 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 - adventure, Spanish, easy reader series

Date(s) Reviewed: September 2011

Other Reviews: No Critics Reviews found; see reader feedback at


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