From Publishers Weekly
This spirited import from Germany is the first in a series that, according to the publisher, has more than 800,000 copies in print worldwide. Given the solid characterizations, quick-moving plot and humor of the inaugural volume, the series has a sound chance for success in this country as well. The narrator is the self-effacing, oft-excluded Radish (so dubbed because he's almost a head shorter than his twin sister and has the last name Rademacher), who discovers a cave in which someone has stashed a doll and a teddy bear. When he tells Steffi, his twin sister, and her bossy friend, Collin, that he has found a treasure map dated 1946 in the cave as well, they agree to let him become a partner in their "detective agency." Aided by another friend and a neighbor's toddler (the "1/2" pal of the title), they make several comical attempts at tracking down the buried treasure, the existence of which is made all the more plausible when Radish shows the others an old gold coin that he found near the cave. Friedrich balances the story's madcap moments with more substantive material, as when Radish's father confides that he, too, was lonely as a child. This promising series continues with 4Ù Friends and the Disappearing Bio Teacher, due out the same month. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 5-6-Four would-be detectives inflate minor mysteries into major ones, usually with comical consequences, in the first two episodes of this series. In each tale, the quartet acquires a different pint-sized hanger-on. In the first, when a fiercely private teacher's sudden acquisition of a red sports car and a blond wig sets the young sleuths' antennae quivering, a raffish stray dog joins the investigation. Next, Radish stumbles upon a cave containing two moldering toys while wheeling a toddler through some woods. A string of bank robberies in Teacher and a supposed treasure map in Cave add measures of suspense, but both turn out to be irrelevant as, ultimately, the gumshoe wanna-bes' misadventures lead to noisy chaos and red faces but no actual felonies or criminals. It turns out that their teacher is rebounding from a divorce; Radish admits to drawing the map himself and learns along with his fraternal twin Steffi that their father played in the cave as a lonely child. The translation reads stiffly, but the characters are varied enough to create laughs and chemistry. Consider these as lightweight alternatives to Terrance Dicks's "Baker Street Irregulars" or Wendelin Van Draanen's "Sammy Keyes" mysteries (Knopf).John Peters, New York Public Library
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.