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Summary: Sandy and Tim loved to solve mysteries. When Billy Barnes was missing, they solved the case in an hour. When the police suggested they become detectives, they open the Toot Sweet Detective Agency. Their first client was Billy, whose canary was missing. Sandy and Tim learn that a horse is also missing, and as the case grows, our detectives have their hands full. This is a mystery adventure for middle readers.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, learning to read, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 13; read yourself: 10 to 13
Young Reader Reaction: Teen Reviewer: This book is okay. Some parts are pretty boring, and the conversations are lengthy and dull. This could be better with more descriptions. Although billed for older kids, we also read this one out loud for our preschooler … and got requests to keep reading!
Adult Reader Reaction: If you ever dreamed of being the Nancy Drew or Encyclopedia Brown in your neighborhood, you'll love this book. It moves quickly, and while you get a sense of who the bad guys are early on, you still want to keep reading. We hope there are more of these.
Pros: This is a fun, wholesome read in the tradition of they kid sleuths we grew up with. The violence is negligible (x threw a rock at the bad guy) and the author builds in lessons to remind kids that even young detectives need to work with adults!
Cons: None, unless this is the only book with the Toot Sweet Detective Agency.
Borrow or Buy: Buy! If there is, in fact, more adventures in store for the Toot Sweet Detective Agency, you'll want the complete collection.
Educational Themes: One important lesson is that you must be HONEST with your parents about what you're doing. It also shows kids how to look closely at what is around them, and demonstrates the rewards of perseverance, trying again, and power of creative problem solving.