Astronaut Neil Armstrong said, “Mystery creates wonder, and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand”. His statement aptly applies to this column’s collection of mystery books for children, ages seven and up. Children of all ages seek to understand what is unknown, and mystery books can foster a sense of asking and answering questions during the reading process.
“Ballpark Mysteries: The Wrigley Riddle” by David A. Kelly, Illustrated by Mark Meyers, Random House, 2013, ages 7-9.
Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs historic ballpark is the setting for this mystery. Mike and Kate love the Cubs and can’t wait to spend time at the stadium as Kate’s mom, a reporter, does research for an article. The kids stumble upon a mystery that causes them to wonder if someone is trying to break the Cubs’ winning streak or if there really is a hidden treasure within the walls of the stadium. Baseball fans will especially enjoy this adventure aimed at younger readers.
“Nancy Drew Diaries: Once Upon a Thriller”, by Carolyn Keene, Aladdin, 2013, 135 pages, ages 7-11.
The contemporary adventures of Nancy Drew and her friends Bess, George, and Ned, follow a similar format and style to the original series first published in the 1930’s. A collection of ghostwriters have worked throughout the years to write the mysteries under the name Carolyn Keene. In this edition, the three girls take a weekend trip to Moon Lake and stumble upon a mystery adventure they were not expecting, as the mysteries in a local author’s books seem to be coming to life.
“Club CSI: The Case of the Digital Deception” by Ellie O’Ryan, Simon Spotlight, 2013, 157 pages, ages 8-12.
Mystery and technology come together in this fifth book of the Club CSI series. A classmate calls on the Club CSI members, Corey, Hannah, and Ben to find out why mysterious charges are showing up her doodling game account and being charged to her parents’ credit card. The answer leads to another mystery, and soon the techno-crime fighters are up to their gigabytes in unexplained clues. Besides solving the mystery, readers will likely learn a lesson or two about cyber-security.
“Hide and Seek” by Kate Messner, Scholastic Press, 2013, 246 pages, ages 9-12.
Anna, Jose´, and Henry are the youngest members of the secret Silver Jaguar Society, volunteering to protect priceless cultural treasures. Through their parents’ work in the society, these junior sleuths search for a missing artifact in the jungles of Costa Rica during this adventure. Each of the three friends are forced to overcome their fears in different ways, with the help of each other. This series also includes the book “Capture the Flag”.
“The Nazi Hunters” by Neal Bascomb, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2013, 215 pages, ages 11 and up.
False identities, intrigue, and secret missions can be as vivid in real life as they are in fiction. “The Nazi Hunters” tells the true story of Isreali spies charged with finding, capturing, and returning Adolf Eichmann to face justice for his crimes during the Holocaust. The story criss-crosses continents and spans decades as eventually ordinary people provide the clues needed to track down Eichman after he flees Germany following World War II. Readers come to understand, in a very small way, the deep emotions brought about from the atrocities of the Holocaust, and the human need to avenge senseless deaths.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Dobler