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Podcast Podcast

Episode 49 — Dynamic Detectives


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Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers

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Grades K – 7
Podcast Series Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers
See all episodes in this series

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Duration 8:09
Original Air Date Published October 01, 2012

Music in this podcast is provided by Freeplay Music.


Book Chat

Expert Chat


Book Chat

book coverThe Westing Game
Author: Ellen Raskin
Publisher: Puffin Modern Classics, 2004

This 1979 winner of the Newbery Award is a classic must-read for any mystery lover. Six families are invited to live in the Sunset Towers, a new apartment complex. All six families are also invited to take part in a competition in order to inherit millions. The goal? To uncover who took the life of Samuel W. Westing. As the families become entangled in solving the crime and overcome with greed, one character raises to the occasion: a young girl named Turtle. With determination and smarts, she unravels the mystery one puzzling layer at a time.

book coverSmiffy Blue: Ace Crime Detective
Author: Walter Dean Myers
Publisher: Scholastic, 1996

"Smiffy Blue smiled. It was a slightly shy smile. And a slightly sly smile. It was the kind of smile that Smiffy Blue smiled when he had found a clue." This refrain echoes through each Smiffy Blue mystery, and kids will realize quickly that the deductions Smiffy Blue makes when he finds a clue are faulty and always end up in a wild goose chase. Unbelievably and hilariously, Smiffy Blue always gets his man, despite his unconventional methods. His logic is faulty yet his enthusiasm and confidence prevail, and the reader is never sure if it is by accident or sheer genius that Smiffy Blue solves each crime. This book has four Smiffy Blue mysteries and is perfect for children beginning to read chapter books.

book coverMystery at the Club Sandwich
Author: Doug Cushman
Publisher: Clarion Books, 2004

Nick Trunk, a detective who will work for peanuts (because he's an elephant) is trying to solve the case of the missing marbles. Lola Gale, the famous singer, has lost her sparkly marbles and isn't the same without them. Nick Trunk discovers two clues: an ostrich feather and a smear of peanut butter. With these two clues Nick Trunk is on the trail, and the thief is not far ahead. Could it be the fumbling magician that performs the Disappearing Peanut Butter Jar trick, the talented chef who spreads his peanut butter sauce with an ostrich feather, or Lola's assistant Maggie Trouble, who wears an ostrich feather boa and loves to eat peanut butter? †With deductive reasoning that would make Columbo proud, Nick Trunk methodically solves the mystery, and Lola gets her marbles back!

book coverWhat Really Happened to Humpty?
Author: Joe Dumpty as told to Jeanie Franz Ransom
Stephen Axelsen

Publisher: Charlesbridge, 2009

You might not know that Humpty Dumpty has a brother named Joe. Even more interesting is that Humpty's brother Joe is a detective, and Joe is just not buying the story (or the nursery rhyme) that Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall by accident. After all, Humpty Dumpty is a pro. He's been sitting on the wall as part of the Neighborhood Watch for years. Joe's boss, Police Chief Goose, gives Joe a tight timeline to prove his theory, and Joe is determined to prove a crime has been committed. Nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters abound, and the answer lies in the mysterious huffy puffy wind and Little Miss Muffet's secret. Kids will delight at this in-depth look at Humpty Dumpty's fall.

book coverGirl's Best Friend
Author: Leslie Margolis
Publisher: Bloomsbury, 2010

Meet Maggie Brooklyn Sinclair, twin sister of Finn, 7th grader, and dog walker extraordinaire. Okay, so her parents donít know about the dog walking, and if they did they might not be so happy about her taking on a job that might interfere with her school work. Itís not like she went searching for this job; it just sort of happened. And then, it just sort of happened that she got involved in a dognapping case. It started with Kermit, the missing dog of her used-to-be friend Ivy. Even though she and Ivy arenít friends anymore, Maggie still has a soft spot for her dog, Kermit. Ivy needs help finding him before her parents get home. As Maggie gets more involved in the case, the clues start adding up, and it may be leading her right to her secret crush, Milo. Could he really be the one who is stealing dogs in her neighborhood?

book coverVanishing Acts
Author: Leslie Margolis
Publisher: Bloomsburt, 2012

Maggie Brooklyn, dog walker and 7th grader by day/detective by night, is on the case again, and this one has her stumped. It starts out with several incidents of dogs being egged at the park. No one knows who is tossing the eggs or why, but Maggie is on the trail. At the same time, tween movie star Seth Ryan is shooting a movie in Brooklyn. Maggie, her friends, and her twin brother, Finn, sign up to be extras, but Maggie, after making the director very mad, decides that maybe thatís not her gig. Along the way she garners the attention of Seth, who watched her stand up for herself. And then, after meeting Seth in the Pizza Den, he goes missing and Maggie was the last to see him. Now she is really determined to solve this case and find out who has kidnapped Seth Ryanóand hopefully uncover the mystery of the eggy dogs.

Expert Chat

Leslie Margolis chats about her character Maggie Brooklyn and the important people in Maggieís life. She also gives some hints about what Maggie will face in the third book of the series.