Monday, May 4, 2009

The Crypto-Capers in The Case of the Missing Sock by Renee Hand--Book Review

What do you get when you cross an accident prone computer genius, an expert puzzle solver, a flamboyant grandmother who loves knitting--even though she's terrible at it, and a young detective who can solve crimes that stump senior members of Scotland Yard?

A great new interactive mystery series that your children will love!

Sibling detectives Max and Mia Holmes reside on Baker Street in London. Along with their Granny Nellie Holmes and their technology wizard best friend, Morris, they make up the Crypto-Capers.

In Book 1 of this series, The Case of the Missing Sock, the Crypto-Capers travel to Florida, where Mr. Delacomb hires them to locate a stolen antique sock with a specially made pair of Prada sunglasses tucked inside. With new suspects popping up everywhere they turn, the Crypto-Capers must use Max's great skills at reasoning and deduction, Mia's ability to solve puzzles, and Morris's penchant for technology, to help them solve the crime. And just in case you think Granny has wandered off for no good reason, you'll discover her wanderings are usually very productive.

Before I say anything else, I have to tell you that my daughters--ages 7 and 5--are already bugging me to get done reviewing these books so that they can have them. I have both Book 1 and Book 2 - The Case of the Red Rock Canyon, and Granny is definitely a favorite character based upon the cover art from Book 2. My girls are starting to make up their own stories without having even read these; so illustrator Alla Dubrovich deserves a huge nod for creating attention-grabbing covers.

The Case of the Missing Sock actually opens in London, with Max in the middle of something good. I don't want to destroy the surprise, so I won't say much more on that, but Hand wastes no time in getting right to the action.

Then we get to meet the rest of the team and get some backstory on the family. The backstory is trickled in between the current day happenings, so it doesn't have a chance to take over the storyline or distract the reader. Hand does an excellent job of sharing just the right amount of detail to make the reader feel like he is experiencing everything along with the Crypto-Capers, while not overloading him with unnecessary junk that weighs the story down.

What I enjoyed most about this book and the plans for other books in the series, is that it gives readers, especially reluctant ones, a reason to pick up a book. By having the reader decipher cryptograms along with the team, The Case of the Missing Sock becomes more than just a book; it becomes an interactive adventure.

The Crypto-Capers by Renee Hand is one series of children's books that I plan to keep an eye on!

Title: The Case of the Missing Sock
Author: Renee Hand
Publisher: North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc.
ISBN-10: 0-87839-304-8
ISBN-13: 978-0-87839-304-6
SRP: $12.95 (U.S.)

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