- Publisher: Scholastic Inc. (2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0439867789
- ISBN-13: 978-0439867788
- Package Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.9 x 6.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 107 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A to Z Mysteries (26 Book Set) Paperback – Student Edition, 2006
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The books are quite readable for young readers. Our first grader reads and understands what is taking place. There's not a lot of difficult language or concepts, and the author quite often takes the time to describe or define a term that might not be all that familar to a youngster. Our daughter as learned a bit of patience in this regard. She's eager to ask if there's a work she doesn't understand, but she now trusts the author to explain things in the very next sentence.
The mysteries are usually well crafted and interesting. They challenge readers to try to figure out "who did it" and often offer a twist or surprise in the end. The author never cheats - the clues are all there. And when kids figure out who did it before the end, the books remain engaging and fun as an explanation is offered as to why the deed was done.
A word of caution for parents - the children in these books are sometimes in precarious predicaments, but they always end up safe and sound. Nevertheless, if you're looking for a conversation starter, you'll find some within the pages of these books. Do the young detectives (there are three, two boys and a girl) always make the wisest choices while investigating an event? No, they do not. But there are consequences for those choices. The young detectives are never left in harms way for very long, but the author does make use of the "cliffhanger" at chapters' ends. These young detectives are quite self aware, and they are open and honest. They know that a worried mother might disapprove of their efforts to track down the teenager who videotaped a bank robbery, and they talk about it in the book. But the group always travels together, and they usually know when to get an adult involved on their behalf.
You will find the mysteries much easier to solve than those presented in Encyclopedia Brown books, although for older readers of mysteries, the Brown books are very good, too. Younger readers get frustrated with Brown as the solutions to myteries are often over their heads. Not so in the A to Z mysteries.
The author also takes time to develop characters. Several books into the series (if you start with A, which is really the best place to start) you will have gotten to know the personality of each young detective, and other characters recur from book to book.
The writing is as tight as appropriate for young readers, and there's plenty of description to absorb a young mind. The series has some special editions that are available for purchase separately. Those editions are longer, but well worth the read.
This is a fine series and if you can find the complete set, you'll often get a real price break per book. I highly recommend the books, as well as the author's other series (The Capital Mysteries, for example, with different young detectives, all of which take place in Washington D.C.).