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on October 6, 2007
A big hit with my 8-year-old, although rated for older kids. Each card is a short story featuring a 'tween with a talent for solving everyday mysteries and minor crimes. The solution is printed backwards and read with an enclosed mirror. Some of the puzzles can be solved with clues internal to the story, while others require some knowledge of natural history, science, etc. This deck really encouraged my child to push her reading skills and was an excellent entertainment for travel, restaurants and other "sit and wait" situations.
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on January 17, 2011
I purchased these for my 8 year old son to read at bed time. He is a high level reader and these were perfect- he usually needs help with 4-5 words per mystery. We usually read 2-3 mysteries each night. Some are very easy to solve, others require some thought or for me to share something I know that he hasn't learned yet. They are really fun to do together.

We live in the southwest and it's so nice to read about our climate-- every children's story seems to take place in middle America with perfect, snowy winters, big trees, rainy springs, golden leaf falls, etc. These stories have cacti, desert animals and a lot of foods that are popular in our region. The addition of the Spanish words and Mexican culture also add a little more than a typical mystery would. We actually purchased 4 more sets for his classroom- when I took them in, the kids went wild.
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on November 17, 2011
I purchased this for my almost 10 year old daughter. She was initially more interested in her brother's game, but after getting her to do one of the mini-mysteries she was hooked. Everyone in the family likes listening and trying to figure out how Bella knows the answer. The problem solving and clue searching work on your vocabulary, reasoning and math skills. We were all more impressed than I thought we'd be - my only concern is that there are only 52 cards and once you go through them you know the answers. On the flip side, if it is like most kids games they play for a while, lose interest and come back later. This was the only reason for the 4 stars in durable. The product is sturdy, but may not last long as the 52 mysteries, once solved, don't change.
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on May 11, 2011
This was a gift for my 10-year-old niece and she liked it enough that she opened it up and was using it that day... which I always take as a good sign. I don't think it's something that will last long as it isn't any fun once you've already "solved" that card, but the idea behind it is great and I think it was worth the money.
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on December 29, 2009
While I'm making dinner, my son will read these outloud to me or I'll read them to him while he reads me the answer. The mirror that comes with the deck is fun to use to figure out the mystery. I also think this would be perfect for an airplane ride or car trip.
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on November 12, 2015
My 7 year old daughter devoured these cards! Within two days, she'd read and answered all of them. Some of them were easy, some required a little adult intervention to solve, and a few were too tough for the grown ups, but we loved learning new facts on those. Her only critique was that Tucson must be a dangerous place (90% of the cards are about robberies!) It was a great way for her to pick up a few Spanish words as well.
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on February 22, 2016
Great idea, but VERY poorly executed. Such a great idea could've (& should've) been A LOT better executed. Every question in this deck falls into one of these categories: either:

A) The information needed to solve is not there so you'd have to already know something/pull from outside sources (advance knowledge that wasn't provided in the story) - not just having to know what a philatelic society is as someone in another review mentioned, but for example, one was about grandpa having marked a line on a cactus to represent his age yet something didn't match up - anyhow, you'd have to know that a cactus grows from the top - that was the answer) (someone in one of the other reviews I read before I purchased these was complaining about that very issue and someone else had responded that it's good to learn new things, to which I thought "hmm, yeah..." - which their response kind of of swayed to me over to *trying* these... Now, after my experience with these cards, I totally realize that, as regards this point, if I really wanted myself or my child to learn new things I would just teach them about different topics, or invest in trivia/fact cards!! - not "mystery-solving cards" which imply the information is already there & probably hinders everyone's self-esteem when they don't get it, lol - It's unjust!, lol.)

B) So many "answer possibilities" exist for a question, so how on earth are you supposed to know it was the one THEY thought it should be (for example: why was a dog making trouble by digging up flowerbeds & going in a space it made under the steps; and the answer was that the dog was pregnant & trying to make a home for her babies - but there was no clues therein to anything to this effect, it *did* talk about the dog having its shots, but that's irrelevant, & then no other clues even suggesting the pregnancy except that the dog was tired - obviously there can be multiple reasons why a dog is tired & multiple reasons why a dog digs, and yet we're somehow supposed to know the answer was this one particular reason of pregnancy?? really?!)

C) A LOT of grabbing "outside the box" or "grasping at straws" -- like a longshot of what *might* have happened really IS the actual answer, even though there were no clues as to that answer

D) Sometimes what they said was the answer I didn't think really *should've* been the answer & I was unsatisfied with the answer (example: a Hispanic boy was learning English & he supposedly wrote a note in English confessing to stealing, & the question was, was it really him who stole or not, & the answer was that it wasn't because "there was not one mistake in the note & no one could learn a language that fast & perfectly". (?! -- which is first of all, subjective (someone *might* learn a language that quickly; or, since the author of these cards really wants us to be thinking outside the box, hey, what's to say that that boy did not have a proofreader/helper/someone who wrote the note for them?!; and also, the story hadn't talked about his intellect/capabilities/language progress/whatnot, etc). So there are some cards like this... and that's what I mean by "unsatisfying".

Overall, the cards are very vague & difficult for the average adult to guess - let alone someone as young as 10! As I was going through these, I really felt that sense of like an adult was penning these stories AROUND a very specific pre-conceived answer, like only THEY knew what they were talking about and automatically felt you should know their mind, too.... (Sometimes I've talked to people who are trying to teach me something/make me say this "one" answer that is really poignant to *them* & stands out in *their* minds, therefore they feel I should just know it just the same & just can't believe I am not getting what they're thinking, LOL... and that's totally the same way I felt with these cards, if that makes sense).

Also, the mysteries in terms of subject matter were, frankly, pretty boring. I was hoping for a lot more adventure and excitement with these! That could've totally been executed better as well!! :(. My homeschooled 10-year old (of average intelligence, not MENSA or anything, LOL) was losing interest pretty quickly. They... are... just not... "fun" stories... even for an adult, let alone a kid... what can I say? :P

It's a shame, because I really wanted to get something FUN and EXCITING to solve..... These *really* could've been done a LOT better. :(
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on January 3, 2014
I got this for my 9 year old daughter at Christmas, and it is a favorite! Each card in the set has a mystery story featuring Bella and her black lab. To see the 'answer' you need to use a mirror to read the backwards/upside down text at the bottom back of the card (a little mirror card is included.) A great gift - makes reading fun for anyone.
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on July 15, 2013
Was hopeful my 8-9 yera old daughter woudl enjoy. I purchased last winter when she was going through her "mystery" stage. However, I found the mystery cards to be a little tricker than I expected. She had difficulty answering, as I did as well. Not sure how to explain it better than stating, I wish they were more "true to life", common sense stories/mysteries.
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on February 21, 2016
My grand-daughters love this. I use it for teaching English to high school and university students in Senegal. Bottom line: it's fun. Some of the "mysteries" are a little thin - the clue doesn't clearly lead to the solution. But I quibble.
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