Sixth grader Mo…A+ student, fry cook, best friend to Dale, arch enemy of Anna Celeste, kid to the Colonel and Miss Lana…turns detective when her town’s least likable citizen turns up dead. Who would want to kill Jesse Tatum? It’s true that nobody liked him much, but kill him? It can’t be anyone in Tupelo Landing can it?
A hot shot city detective shows up and ratchets up the anxiety by asking a lot of uncomfortable questions. Questions that start to point to the Colonel, and even Dale, who’s just a kid!
Starr studied us for one cold, flat minute. “Don’t leave town,” he told the Colonel. Then he nodded to me and headed for the door. We watched him climb into his Impala. “He’s going to be trouble,” the Colonel said, unplugging the jukebox. “Yes, sir,” I said, thinking of Dale. “If you ask me, he already is.” (page 84-85)
That slick Detective Joe Starr might have a cell phone and a computer but Mo has something he hasn’t got…the Cousin Information Network..and as long as she’s got good enough stuff to make a trade, she can find out everything she needs to know about Jesse Tatum, his girlfriend & his dead cousin. It’s all about who you know and Mo knows everyone…she just doesn’t know everything…can she figure it all out before the murderer strikes again? Author: Sheila Turnage
“Have you ever wondered who invented some of the items we use and depend on each day? Well take a look at this title What Color is My World?: the Lost History of African-American Inventors. Twins Ella and Herbie have just moved into an older home with their parents. The home is in need of much repair. Handy Man, Mr. Mital, is able to restore the home and pass on history to Ella and Herbie about famous inventors. Herbie gets so excited about the information that he pulls out his notebook and writes notes so that he won’t forget anything. This is an excellent source for children of all ages to learn about great inventions and inventors.”
Recommended by Denyce Malone – Flanner House Library
And to make the book even more interesting, note that it is written by the basketball legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Jem’s Dad loses his job and starts to make various ” improvements” around the house. He’s clever…ingenius even…but dangerous! (“That’s all part of the fun of it!” He smiled and wiped the blood away. “The word today is fun.”) When his inventions threaten to injure or maim the family his wife brings home an old VW camper that needs an overhaul. This keeps Mr. Tooting in the garage and OUT of the house.
Lucy: “He’s got to be stopped. You said so yourself. And that’s what the camper van’s for. It’s a total wreck. He’ll neer be able to fix it really. But it’ll keep him busy, keep him out of trouble, keep him happy, and stop him from doing his home improvements.” (page 22)
And the plan works. Mr. Tooting painstakingly takes the old camper completely apart but gets stuck putting it back together again until Jem finds a detailed diagrm of the 1966 camper van online and downloads a copy.
“Before the diagram, all the bits of metal and rubber spread out on the driveway were nothing but dirty old junk. After the diagram, they were pieces of the biggest, most complicated jigsaw puzzle ever.” (page 27)
Jem and his Dad just can’t walk away. They work on the puzzle until they have a fully restored camper ready for a family adventure. and they make some enhancements. What they don’t know, is that the camper has a plan of it’s own and once it’s in motion, the Tootings have to hang on tight! This camper can FLY…and SWIM…and it goes where it wants to go! A fun adventure in the spirit of Herbie the Love Bug, Spy Kids and Bumblebee. Some cars have a mind of their own. Author: Frank Cottrell Boyce
Just like books #1-3, this one doesn’t have any chapters in it. It’s a collection of letters and notes with a few newspaper articles thrown in here and there. You have to figure out who is who and what is going on by reading the letters the characters write to each other and by reading the newspaper articles that report the strange happenings at 43 Old Cemetery Road.
One thing I don’t like in books is when an author TELLS me what a character is thinking. I want them to SHOW me the character by having the character say or do things that reveal who that character is. This book is GREAT for that because the author as a narrator is absent. All you read are texts and letters from the characters to each other. There is no chance for anybody else, like a narrator, to get in the way!
This time around Olive is determined to keep letter writing alive. She loves getting fan mail about the books she writes with Iggy and Seymour. She is suspicious of cell phones in particular and is not happy at all that the post office in Ghastly is going to close. When threatening fan letters begin to arrive with the return address of a post office box at the Ghastly post office Iggy is concerned…and when more alive, becomes determined to find out who is behind the letters before Olive gets hurt. (Can a ghost get hurt?!) Love this one too although #1 is still my favorite.
All of the 43 Old Cemetery Road series books are original and funny. You might especially like reading Book #1, Dying to Meet You, that way you can find out how Iggy, Olive and Seymour became a family in the first place. When you get done with these, try Billy Bones – he’s another ghost in hiding with a fun family.
If you haven’t tried any of The Sisters Grimm series, I’ll fill you in a little. Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are sisters who find out The Grimm Brother stories are actually a history of all the crimes committed by fairy tale characters. The girls are part of a long line of detectives from the Grimm family whose job it is to investigate the fairy tale crimes. In each book the girls do some sleuthing to figure out which fairy tale characters have been behaving badly.
In this very last book in the series, Book Nine The Council of Mirrors, the Grimms and their fairy tale character friends still hope to save the people of Ferryport Landing from the evil plans of the Magic Mirror. To get help, the seek the advice of….OTHER magic mirrors. Of course there is more than one! Find out what happens to Sabrina, Daphne and all the other Everafters.
An exciting conclusion filled with all of your favorite sassy characters like Pinocchio (“I was NOT A PUPPET!”) and Puck (“Smell you later!”). My advice – start at the beginning…that way you can keep all the characters straight!