Shakespeare’s Secret

I, personally, am a mystery fan. Especially of the type written by people like Elise Broach, which frequently have a plot revolving around some artist or other and their history. That’s just fine with me. In this novel, the main character is a young girl by the name of Hero. I know what you’re thinking. A girl? Is she sure? I know. I thought that, too. Hero and her sister Beatrice are named after characters in one of William Shakespeare’s plays: Much Ado About Nothing. So what? They aren’t Shakespeare-obsessed like their folks. But it would seem that Hero has a change of heart when she learns of a diamond that could quite possibly be hidden in her new house. One that may open the eyes of the world to something important about the writer. And things get even more interesting when Danny Cordova (super cute, super popular, and super confusing) makes it apparent that he intends to help solve the puzzle. Hero learns many things, like the questions that surround Shakespeare’s life, the secrets of her neighbor, and there’s more to the creator of her name than she ever imagined. This is a great book with good writing and good plot. I’m sure lots of kids, both male and female, would enjoy it. (Oh, and to all frustrated English teachers, this could really draw your kids a bit more into your lessons. Just sayin’.)

The Mysterious Benedict Society #1

Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance. These are four very unique kids. They are the four specially selected kids that are now part of the Mysterious Benedict Society. And their lives will never be the same. When Reynard Muldoon saw the advertisement in the paper that read “Are You a Gifted Child Looking for Special Opportunities?” he was interested immediately. And so it was that he soon found himself in a classroom, taking a very unusual test. And guess what? He was the only one among the students in the room that passed. Reynie, as he likes to be called, then meets three other interesting children: A major egghead called Sticky, a talented girl named Kate, and a little grump called Constance. At the midst of it all is a curious character by the name of Mr. Benedict. The four are shipped off on a mission right away, against a cunning enemy. This book, by Trenton Lee Stewart, was very imaginative and entertaining. You would definitely benefit from taking a look!

The Ear, the Eye and the Arm

Meet the best detectives in Zimbabwe, 2194: The Ear, the Eye and the Arm. These three clever and unique characters are set to work chasing down General Matsika’s three children, after they sneaked out one night. But it’s not nearly as easy as it seems to track down the three kids-and many obstacles are in the way. And for the kids themselves, they find terrible danger, in the form of the She Elephant and many others. Filled with the wonder that comes with the futuristic setting created by Nancy Farmer, The Ear, the Eye and the Arm is a book that both boys and girls will like. I know I did. The imaginative plot and characters helped, even though I wasn’t always quite enthralled throughout. There’s a wide range of characters: The goofy ones, the serious ones, the old-fashioned ones-the list goes on. It’s a book for everyone. Read a bit!

The Crowfield Curse

Written by Pat Walsh, The Crowfield Curse is a chilling and haunting tale. Maybe not as enthralling as other books I have read, but it is a creative and interesting thing to read. The main character is William, an orphaned boy who is servant to the monks at Crowfield Abbey. When Will rescues a hobgoblin, he learns more about the world of the fay, and the Dark King who used to terrorize it. And things only get more complicated when two very peculiar and strange persons show up at the abbey, a Jacobus Bone and his manservant, Shadlock. Things aren’t always as they seem, William learns, and sometimes these things can be very dangerous. Especially when he discovers a mythical creature lies buried in the forest, and Jacobus Bone and Shadlock seem far too interested. As I said, the book was not as absorbing as others, but the characters and plot are of good quality. So next time you’re at the library, I recommend you take a look.

Children of the Lamp: The Akhentaen Adventure

I thought this book was good, but here’s my one problem: the writing was not particularly enthralling, and this is one of the traits I look for when I’m reading something. This book didn’t make me want to stay up late and whine for another few minutes of reading. However, this book (by P.B. Kerr) had a very good plot that made me stick with the book and its series. It’s about two children, brother and sister, named Phillipa and John. After having their wisdom teeth extracted (at age twelve!) they are compelled to visit their Uncle Nimrod, who lives in London. There, they discover that they are actually djinn, or children of the lamp. And, only a little while after this shocking news is delivered, they are tossed into a mystery that may deeply affect the entire world. These books are written okay, and the plot is very imaginative, which is one of the other things I look for in a book. So, if you aren’t busy, you can go take a look at the library.

P.S. For the adults: P.B. Kerr is also a writer of books for you! He’s under the name Philip Kerr.

Paperquake: A Puzzle

This is the story of a young girl coping with her fear of earthquakes, her problems with her sisters, and mysterious letters from the past. This story, by Kathryn Reiss, is well written and great for kids who like crosswords and mysteries, and is especially good if you like the thrill of finding something out. Violet is the odd one out where her siblings are concerned. She’s scared of everything, and is the only child without blond hair out off the triplets. That’s hard. I loved this book because of its mystery and suspense. It’s the story of a young girl trying to find the strength in herself, and trying to figure out the odd visions she keeps receiving. But things really get kicked up a notch when she realizes that if she doesn’t act, lots of people will lose their lives in San Francisco.
Believe me, this book is a sure page-turner, and good for any child interested in history and mystery.

The Mysteries of Spider Kane

I lost count of how many times I read this book. Mary Pope Osborne, who you probably know as the wonderful author of the Magic Treehouse Series, wrote it and she didn’t waste a single bit of her talent. I am not the sort of person who would ever call a spider, or any other bug for that matter, cute. Yet, I’m still nuts about this book. The elegant and classy detective, Spider Kane, and his band of followers-all in disguise-drew me in. Poor Leon the butterfly is dreadfully worried about his new friend, Mimi, when she suspiciously disappears. His ladybug friends take him to Spider Kane for help, and together they all travel to the horrible lair of the Emperor Moth, intending to rescue their friend. You’ll love the surprising ending, and the second story that follows, holding a brand-new, daring adventure. I loved the book because I love mysteries, but even if you don’t, you will like this one!

A Chet Gecko Mystery: The Chameleon Wore Chartreuse

Laugh out loud with this delicious little morsel! Get introduced to Chet Gecko, your elementary school detective with a nose for trouble and a hunger for sweets. When a classmate’s little brother has disappeared, Chet decides to step in. For the stinkbug pie.  But do you think being a detective is easy? Especially when the case involves a bad-tempered Gila monster. Lucky for him, he’s got a smooth-talking mockingbird for help, Natalie Attired. Author Bruce Hale’s clever word play and suspenseful events will have you holding your breath and stifling giggles as Chet encounters the confusing Rat Sisters, a meaty coach, and the Beast of Room 3. Aren’t you just dying to know if our hungry detective makes it out alive? Well, make like a gecko and dig in!