Thursday, June 7, 2012

SPL Shelf Life [kids]

The Lemonade Crime, by Jacqueline Davies, 152 pages.
Was Scott Stacey guilty or innocent of stealing the $208 that Evan and Jessie Treski had worked so hard to earn at their lemonade stand?
The facts certainly seemed to indicate that Scott was the culprit. The money had disappeared from the pocket of Evan’s shorts when he was swimming in Jack’s backyard pool; Scott was the only boy who had gone back into the house... and Scott had just bought himself a very expensive Xbox 20/20.  Every student in Mrs. Overton’s class was envious of that new Xbox, and no one more so than Evan.
At Jessie’s urging, the class called Scott to stand trial for the theft. 
With the students acting as jury members, witnesses and judge, the trial began after school one day. One by one, the witnesses were questioned. Suddenly, what had seemed to be a watertight case against Scott fell apart.
What did the class learn?  Plenty, as it turned out.  They learned that jumping to conclusions is unwise and unfair.  They learned that there can be more than one answer to a question, and more than one culprit to a crime. They discovered that finding the guilty party isn’t always easy, that being fair is sometimes very difficult, and that “justice” may not always prevail. They also learned that what signifies justice to one person can be perceived as injustice by someone else.
Jacqueline Davies wrote The Lemonade Crime as a sequel to The Lemonade War, but either of these well-written, thought-provoking books can be enjoyed on its own.
** Recommended for ages 8 to 11 years.

The Case of the Missing Deed, by Ellen Schwartz, 189 pages.
When five cousins – Sebastien, Genevieve, Clare, Olivia and Alex - arrive at Otter Island for their annual summer visit with Grandma, they are dismayed to discover that the Tantalus Mining Company is planning to open a large mine on the small, peaceful island.  Otter Island will be changed forever.  Ignoring residents’ wishes and their fears for the island’s environment, Tantalus is determined to move forward as quickly as possible.
Worse, the company’s plans include using the land on which Grandma’s house is located, as well as those of various other residents. If Grandma can’t prove her property ownership by showing her deed, she’ll lose her home. Before his recent death, Grandpa hid the deed for safekeeping – but Grandma can’t remember the hiding spot.
Meanwhile, Tantalus officials are pressuring Grandma for the deed and aggressively pressuring other islanders to sell their properties to the company, while trying to convince the islanders that no environmental harm will result from the mine.
The cousins help Grandma search for the missing deed again and again, to no avail. Then they find a series of complicated clues to the deed’s whereabouts in some of Grandma’s recipes.  It appears that Grandpa, who loved puzzles and codes, had left these clues before his death. Now it becomes a race against time to find the deed – a race that will also unearth an environmental report, hidden by Tantalus, explaining that the mine’s operation will do tremendous harm to the island.
The Case of the Missing Deed is the first title in an appealing new Canadian chapter book series for children, “The Teaspoon Detectives”, featuring secret codes, clues hidden in recipes, intrigue, adventure and five very determined cousins.
** Recommended for ages 8 to 11 years.

These reviews appeared in The Stratford Gazette on June 7, 2012. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian

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