I know, I know. I still owe an SCBWI-NY wrap-up post. Right now, a little quickie to drop this review, appearing in the February SLJ:
BREZENOFF, Steve. The Painting That Wasn’t There. ISBN 978-1-4342-1608-3. LC 2009002572.
––––. The Zoo with the Empty Cage. ISBN 978-1-4342-1610-6. LC 2009002574.
ea vol: illus. by C. B. Canga. 88p. (Field Trip Mysteries Series). glossary. CIP. Stone Arch. 2009. PLB $23.99.
Gr 2-5–In The Painting That Wasn’t There, a class visits a temporary art exhibit. The students have learned about illegal copies of masterpieces, so when a celebrated painting is determined to be a forgery, James Shoo and his friends set out to solve the crime. In The Zoo with the Empty Cage, EGG (Edward G. Garrison) is a down-to-earth boy whose science club has an outing to a zoo. The endangered animal that the kids are most looking forward to seeing suddenly disappears. The book becomes a real page-turner as the students look for suspects that even include their teacher. The occasional colorful, full-page illustrations in these engaging mysteries are inviting. These books are appropriate for reluctant readers as well as those just beginning chapter books. Concluding pages offer springboards for teachers to encourage their students to write mysteries as well as to learn investigation techniques. Good purchases for libraries that need mysteries with contemporary settings.–Elaine Charnow, Deasy/Landing Elementary Schools, Glen Cove, NY