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Summary: It is only July 3rd and the fireworks have already started! While checking out the goodies at the bake sale table, Milo and Jazz learned that there had been a series of unexplained events: chili peppers that ended up in the fireworks box, farm animals that got loose, and Viola's Violets CD was anything but ballet! Good thing there are two detectives around. But are they going to get this mystery solved before the big pie-judging contest? This is an illustraetd chapter book mystery for kids starting to read independently.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, reluctant reader
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 10; read yourself: 9 and up
Interest Level: 8 to 10
Reading Level: 3.2
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is an exceptional series for reading aloud with young readers and for independent reading, as well. It has a touch of Encyclopedia Brown, updated with a pair of buddy detectives. The story moves fast, the illustrations add perspective (and humor), and there aren't so many characters that the kids get confused. I also like that the obvious culprits aren't necessarily the bad guys.
Pros: Mystery lovers and dormant readers alike will enjoy this fast-paced mystery adventure that takes place on the Nation's birthday. This is one you could read any time of year.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. I would recommend this series for kids who like mysteries and those who like humor in their chapter books. It will have universal appeal for boys and girls alike.
Educational Themes: This is a book for fun reading, but the author adds a lot of engaging material at the end, including a series of scenes where readers can play the part of one of the characters. There are also some "brain stretchers" to get kids thinking like a detective.
Literary Categories: Fiction - mystery, crime, adventure, series book
Date(s) Reviewed: November 2010
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