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Author: Jerrye Sumrall

Illustrator: Joan Betancourt, cover

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Publisher: 1st Books Library, 2004

Material: paperback

Summary: School's out. Jeff, Mike & Dan are ready to leave homework behind and use their detective skills to find out what two mysterious men are doing on Battleship Island. The only thing slowing them down is Stanley, Jeff's cousin who is visiting for the summer. This is a fictional story with a sense of Civil War history that takes place on an island in Mobile Bay.

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

Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 10; read yourself: 9 to 12

Interest Level: 9 to 12

Age of Child: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™

Young Reader Reaction: This is a book that many young people can relate to. It's a A good book for children in third and fourth grade. Some parts could have been better explained and there should have been more of a plot.

Adult Reader Reaction: This one will take you back to the days when you wanted to be a junior detective. It's fun and reminds you of the things you did (or wanted to do) on your summer vacation.

Pros: The story moves forward smartly, with just enough twists to keep you reading, but no so many that you have lots of loose ends at its close.

Cons: None, really. But what was that light at the Old Merritt House?

Borrow or Buy: Buy. The story reads like the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys books we read as kids…over and over, even after we knew the ending.


Educational Themes: Even pre-teens will recognize the message that you need to be careful when you judge someone: you might be wrong. It's a nice story of friendship and respect.

Notes: Also available as an Ebook

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

Date(s) Reviewed: July 2004

Other Reviews:


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