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Friday, October 25, 2013


     I’ve been hard at work writing an early chapter book mystery story and it hasn't been easy! I love a good mystery but I’m finding that to write one you have to stick with a formula, like so many of these books do. The goal is for the reader to follow along with the detective and figure out “who-done-it” before the end of the book. What I like about these series is that they encourage reluctant readers with a quick read and several books in the series to choose from. Here’s a review of just one of the popular Cam Jansen books:

Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Dinosaur Bones (by David A. Adler, copyright 1981, Scholastic)

The detective: Cam Jansen is a not-so-ordinary fifth grader with a photographic memory and the ability to “click” and record a mental picture that helps her solve the crime. 

Friend and assistant: Fellow classmate Eric Shelton

Setting: Natural History Museum

The crime: Bones are missing from the dinosaur skeleton.

Clues: A milk carton, book about dinosaurs, postcard picturing a dinosaur, milk delivery truck

Suspects: The tour guide and scientist who started the museum

The investigation: An after-hours visit to the museum, home of the perps.

Resolution: Catching the bad guys red-handed as they replace the stolen bones with plaster replicas.

Here are a few more early chapter book mystery series: A to Z Mysteries, A Jigsaw Jones Mystery, A Chet Gecko Mystery and Encyclopedia Brown.

1 comment:

  1. My son was crazy for the Cam Jensen stories. You're right - it is tricky to stick to that formula!