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WHO STOLE HALLOWEEN (Chickadee Court Mysteries)

Author: Martha Freeman

Illustrator: Eric Brace, cover art

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Publisher: Holiday House,

Material: paperback

Summary: Alex was having a fine day until Luau (his cat) went into the cemetery and sat on a grave. There, Alex and Yasmeen picked up a flyer: Kyle Richmond's cat Halloween was missing. Yasmeen was all excited about the chance to solve another myster, but not Alex. Alex was more concerned about what was going on at the old Harvey House. Mention the word "ghost" and the power would go out. When Alex's Mom (a police officer) told him that there was a rash of cat-nappings, Alex decided he didn't have a choice. He and Yasmeen would be detectives - and they'd use Luau as bait. What could possibly go wrong? This is a wholesome mystery series with two 12-year-old detectives solving cases.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading, reluctant reader, short chapter

Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 9 and up

Interest Level: 8 to 12

Reading Level: 4.2

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: The cover caught my attention on this one. The black cat has a great expression on his face. I found myself staying up later and later trying to finish this book. Each chapter has just enough of a cliff hanger that you want to turn the page to see what happens next. The story is fun, the characters are eclectic, and the relationships between adults and kids is respectful. A nice treat!

Pros: Short chapters, plenty of action, and one smart cat engage readers from the outset of this book for transitional readers.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a fun read and could be something to share for several Halloweens. Because the pace is fast and the language is so descriptive, it is a good selection for mixed age audiences.

If You Liked This Book, Try: THE MISSING CANARY   WILL ALLEN AND THE GREAT MONSTER DETECTIVE (Chronicles of the Monster Detective Agency, Volume 1)   THE CASE OF THE STINKY SOCKS (The Milo and Jazz Mysteries)

Educational Themes: This is meant to be a story to read just for fun. You can stop at various points to ask your reader to predict the next events(s) or ask "what will [character] name do?" There are themes of superstitions and "old wives tales," friendship, and creative problem solving. Alex and Yasmeen read old newspapers to learn more about their town. You might do the same thing in yours.

Notes: The Reading Tub® picked up this book at the American Library Association annual convention. There are no expectations of review associated with this book.

Literary Categories: Fiction - mystery, adventure, middle grade series, friendship

Date(s) Reviewed: October 2010

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


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