Sunday, June 23, 2013

The High-Rise Private eyes series by Cynthia Rylant illustrated by G. Brian Karas

The hot topic among my second grade students (boys and girls) right now is spies.  I am not sure why but this is a topic that seems to arise from time to time.  The two little books in this review are about spies or perhaps detectives but sadly they are not going to meet the expectations of my second graders because they want 'how to' guides. They want to be spies!

All that to one side these are two little fun beginner books where the spying is more often a case of setting straight a misunderstanding or righting a tiny wrong.  There are eight books in this simple series and we now have two - The case of the Missing Monkey and The case of the Climbing cat.

Bunny Brown and Jack Jones are the High-Rise private eyes.  In the first book a glass monkey goes missing from a diner.  Bunny and Jack stake out the joint at breakfast and review the suspects. There is a fox eating chocolate chip pancakes, a crow eating powdered doughnuts and a sheep with a lunch box but it is Bunny who sees the truth.  The fox is reading a book about trains - he likes machines not delicate monkeys and the lunch box owned by the sheep is badly dented - he is too clumsy to want a glass ornament. Suspicions must fall on crow who has a large tote bag.

What is in this bag?  Is crow the real thief?  Why did he take the glass monkey?

The setting for the second book, The case of the Climbing cat, is the high-rise apartment building where our two intrepid heroes live but Jack lives on the ground floor because he is afraid of heights.  This is a problem because Miss Nancy lives on the twentieth floor and her binoculars have been stolen.
If you enjoy this little episode you might like Andy Shane and the Barn Sale Mystery by Jennifer Richard Jacobson.

These two little books are perfect for beginner readers because they contain satisfying stories that can be read easily in one or two sittings, they have loads of colour pictures and Bunny and Jack themselves have a happy jokey relationship.

Be sure to look for other books by Cynthia Rylant in our library including the marvelous Mr Putter series.

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