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Bernie Magruder and the Disappearing Bodies Paperback – April 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor has written more than 135 books, including the Newbery Award–winning Shiloh and the Alice series. She lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland. To hear from Phyllis and find out more about Alice, visit AliceMcKinley.com.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 6
  • Series: Bernie Magruder
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; English Language edition (April 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689841272
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689841279
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,075,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I guess I've been writing for about as long as I can remember. Telling stories, anyway, if not writing them down. I had my first short story published when I was sixteen, and wrote stories to help put myself through college, planning to become a clinical psychologist. By the time I graduated with a BA degree, however, I decided that writing was really my first love, so I gave up plans for graduate school and began writing full time.

I'm not happy unless I spend some time writing every day. It's as though pressure builds up inside me, and writing even a little helps to release it. On a hard-writing day, I write about six hours. Tending to other writing business, answering mail, and just thinking about a book takes another four hours. I spend from three months to a year on a children's book, depending on how well I know the characters before I begin and how much research I need to do. A novel for adults, because it's longer, takes a year or more. When my work is going well, I wake early in the mornings, hoping it's time to get up. When the writing is hard and the words are flat, I'm not very pleasant to be around.

Getting an idea for a book is the easy part. Keeping other ideas away while I'm working on one story is what's difficult. My books are based on things that have happened to me, things I have heard or read about, all mixed up with imaginings. The best part about writing is the moment a character comes alive on paper, or when a place that existed only in my head becomes real. There are no bands playing at this moment, no audience applauding--a very solitary time, actually--but it's what I like most. I've now had more than 120 books published, and about 2000 short stories, articles and poems.

I live in Bethesda, Maryland, with my husband, Rex, a speech pathologist, who's the first person to read my manuscripts when they're finished. Our sons, Jeff and Michael, are grown now, but along with their wives and children, we often enjoy vacations together in the mountains or at the ocean. When I'm not writing, I like to hike, swim, play the piano and attend the theater.

I'm lucky to have my family, because they have contributed a great deal to my books. But I'm also lucky to have the troop of noisy, chattering characters who travel with me inside my head. As long as they are poking, prodding, demanding a place in a book, I have things to do and stories to tell.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pop Bop TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 8, 2012
Format: Paperback

I like Naylor's books, and I like the Bernie Magruder series, but this one is pretty creepy. Mr. and Mrs. Magruder have been hired to run a residential hotel. Bernie is one of their children. A dead body is found in a room; then it disappears. A second dead body is found; then it disappears. A third body is found; it's real and was stolen from the next door funeral parlor. Because of all the nutty publicity Mr. Magruder is fired as hotel manager, and the family will have nowhere to go. Here's the creepy part. Bernie finds a letter from his Mom's pre-marriage boyfriend begging her to dump Bernie's Dad and run away with him. Bernie is terrified that Mom is going to abandon the family because she starts wandering around all thoughtful and moony-eyed and all through the book he keeps a close eye on her while worrying. Ultimately it turns out that the fake dead people were the old boyfriend in disguise trying to get Mr. Magruder fired.

Now, what kind of a subplot and resolution is that for a mild mystery written for elementary level new readers? The kid's afraid Mom will abandon the family and run off because Dad is a business failure and can't provide for them? Usually these books are "weird lights in the abandoned library", or "the neighborhood cats are missing", or "somebody's stealing all the apples", not "Mom's going to abandon Dad and the family". What is this, Tennessee Williams goes to first grade?

This book has all of the nice Naylor touches, with some humorous sub-plots and the like, but with a central story this unnerving, and with nothing else particularly exceptional going for it, I don't quite see how anyone would want this in the family library.
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A Kid's Review on February 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
Bernie Magruder had an everyday normal life until dead bodies are found and lost at the Bessledorf inn. Bernie's father (the manager of the hotel) is about to get fired so Bernie determines himself to find out what's going on. Bernie's two friends (Georgene and Weasel) decide to help Bernie out. Read the book to find out if Bernie and his friends discover what's going on.

Bernie Magruder and the disappearing bodies is a mysterious book. It is mysterious because bodies are disappearing and no one knows why, you know someone's been doing strange things but you don't know who. Each person that is found dead and disappears reminds Bernie's mom of something called heliotrope what is heliotrope and why do they remind her of it. Someone has sent Bernie's mom a letter asking her to run off with them and you don't know if she will accept or not. This book is so mysterious.

My favorite character is Delores because she is like me. She hates to be woken up no matter what. She loves flowers and she wears allot of dresses and skirts. We are so similar.

About Bernie. Bernie is eleven years old. Bernie has two brothers (the youngest Lester who is nine years old, Joseph who is nineteen) one sister (Delores the oldest who is twenty.)
Bernie has two friends named Georgene and Weasel.

This is a thumbs up book!

Julia Greeley
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Format: Paperback
I liked this book it showed how Bernie tried to help his family so they don't have to live in a old house, also Bernie had help from his friends so he could find why the dead bodies are disappearing and who is behind all this.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Aday on August 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
Bernie Magruder and the Disappearing Bodies Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
A lingering mystery for children that could use some minor plot twists. I love a good mystery with a red herring or two. Even though it is a children's book it would have benefited from more complexity of plot. There were no red herrings or clues to lead the readers astray.

When I find a children's mystery I'm thrilled. Good mysteries appeal to reluctant readers. I can't imagine this book creating a love for reading. The story lacks some subplots that would have helped move the plot along and make readers turn the pages.

The main drawback of the prose was a reliance on adverbs to strengthen weak verbs. The writing was good overall for me to finish the book. It wasn't painful, but I admit I did get bored and looked forward to the end of the book. I would not recommend this book.
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