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Summer Book Reviews - Kids detective fiction

ccc48b2ad8f6898dee48b1b061b92c6b.jpgThis season’s book reviews take a look at the best detective and mystery-solving fiction written for children. The great, but complex and difficult detective is an important character in British literary fiction. The success of Robin Steven’s fabulous ‘Murder Most Unladylike’ series, and Katherine Woodfine’s Sinclair’s Mysteries have given today’s kids a taste for detective fiction! From the antics of young would-be spies, to the problem-solving skills of school-girls there are many wonderful books that can introduce the joy of detective fiction to young readers.

Violet and the Pearl of the Orient

Harriet Whitehorn and Becka Moor

Meet Violet and her best friend, Rose. They live on opposite sides of a large shared garden. When the Count and Countess Du Plicitous move into a house in their square with their unpleasant and really rather snotty daughter, Isabella, both girls are sure there is something strange about the family. Their delightfully eccentric neighbour Dee Dee Derota is a retired actress from a golden Hollywood era; and she owns the most wonderful jewel! This is a really charming and beautifully published little book for younger readers; there’s an action-packed plot, a large cast of vivid characters and lively, intelligent writing. It is all brought to life in Becka Moor’s bubbly, funny illustrations. A real jewel of a book – and for those who become hooked, there are four more in the series: Violet and Rose hone their detective skills and solve the mystery of an ancient Egyptian mummy; 89c43275bc81cdae84249e148c50bfce.jpgfind hidden treasure, deal with the Smugglers and later this year, they will pit their wits against the mystery of Tiger Island!

9781471118951

£6.99 (ages 6+)

The Book Case

Written and Illustrated by Dave Shelton

St Rita’s isn’t an ordinary school. For a start it only invites exceptionally-spirited girls to be educated there, and the students can choose what lessons to go to – Chemistry is popular because there are almost always dramatic explosions! The school is also unusual in that there is a huge and hazardous hole in the floor of the dorm, the West Staircase is crumbling to bits, and a mostly-invisible beast inhabits the library. Talking of the library, one of the books is missing – as is one of the students! Can Assistant Librarian, Emily Lime, new girl Daphne (Assistant, Assistant Librarian in training) and the only boy in the school, George, solve the mystery? After dodging the terrifying Head Girl, taking advice from the gambling, cigarette-smoking R.E. Teacher, Sister Adelaide, and drugging the teacher taking their detention class, the three school-friends realise that the best course of action is to break out of school, and break into the town bank. This is a hugely fun and totally off the wall story of bookish detective work.

9781910200544

£10.99 (ages 8+)

Gangster School

Blaggard’s School for Tomorrow’s Tyrants is the best school for trainee criminals in the world. It masquerades as Constance Bottomley’s Academy for the Rural Arts, but educates the off-spring of the best 156257f67b2fc44d014fa0a9aaa63ddb.jpg(or worst) of the world’s dishonest folk. However new pupils, Milly Dillane and Charlie Partridge have a secret – although both of them are from established felonious families, neither wants to be a criminal. But they must keep this a secret and get by somehow – those rejected from the school are sent to Crumley’s School for Career Criminals, which is known to be much, much worse! Can they convince head teacher and Griselda Martinet, and her arch-enemy Pecunia Badpenny, that Blaggards is the place for them? This new, quirky and funny series by Kate Wiseman is full of villainy, extraordinary gadgets and good humour.

ISBN 9781999863319

£6.99 (Ages 8+)

Olivia The Spy

Ian Falconer

If you haven’t already met Olivia, the Piglet with a lot of panache, you are in for a treat. This series is already a firm favourite with both parents and children. The text is droll and intelligent – the adult lucky enough to read Olivia to a young child will be highly amused; and the wonderful illustrations tell their own version of events. In this story Olivia overhears her name being mentioned, so she sets about a little espionage of her own to find out what is going on. A fun story for young children – and a cautionary tale against eavesdropping!

ISBN 9781471164231

£7.99 (Ages 3+)

The Curious Case of the Missing Mammoth

Ellie Hattie and Karl James Mountford

A very lovely children’s picture book, in which a young boy, Oscar, discovers 8f9b017918deb701a7a358e0ce861ace.jpga mammoth and its baby causing chaos in the streets at night. Can he get them back home before the clock strikes one? Oscar has to chase the Mammoth through all the rooms in the museum. This beautifully illustrated book is full of fun facts and lift the flap pages for small fingers to explore. Original and quirky – and the very best of today’s publishing for younger readers.

ISBN 9781848694491

£7.99 (Ages 3+)

Tamsin Rosewell

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