- Age Range: 9 and up
- Grade Level: 4 - 6
- Paperback: 180 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 8, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1478160233
- ISBN-13: 978-1478160236
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#3,941,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #17833 in Children's Mystery, Detective, & Spy
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Samantha Green and the Case of the Haunted Pumpkin Paperback – October 8, 2012
About the Author
Author Christy Lynn Allen holds a bachelors degree in English from University of Michigan. She was inspired to write Samantha Green and the Case of the Haunted Pumpkin, her first middle grade novel, by the young lady she mentors. Allen lives in the Charlotte, NC area with her husband, John, and their beloved dog, Murphy, the basis for Samantha Green's goofy yellow Lab.
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Our heroine, Samantha, is bright, extroverted, energetic and a little bit awkward and clueless in the way most ten year olds can be. She is also observant and thoughtful and she has a knack for piecing together her observations in order to solve local mysteries. She has a guy-pal sidekick, a dog buddy, and generally supportive parents, as well as a pretty sharp/funny Yoda-like babysitter. Sam has a much more fully developed and interesting personality than is usual for the course, which accounts for a lot of the book's appeal.
In this outing someone is tormenting the scary odd old woman who recently moved into the neighborhood, and even though Sam is a little creeped out by this odd lady she undertakes to solve the mystery of who is trying to mess with her. The mystery is solved in a fair manner, with some nice clues and solid deductive reasoning on Sam's part. As a bonus it even ends with a big reveal in front of the neighborhood at a Halloween party, so you get one of those English manor house the-killer-is-in-this-room wow! finishes.
But to me a big part of the book's appeal is the the cozy restraint of the project. No one is wacky or quirky. Sam isn't precocious or obsessive. There is no great family drama, parents aren't idiots, Sam's sibling isn't a horror show, and none of the scenes are awkward or out of tune with the rest of the story. There are some gentle lessons about not jumping to ill-informed conclusions about people, but nothing heavy-handed.
The writing is consistently of a high quality, and the dialogue, scene setting, and so on is carefully crafted. The writing is technically fine, (grammar, syntax, tense and so on), and the book is well edited. I would expect this to be very accessible to its 8 to 11 year old target audience, and a very satisfying read for such a reader if they're willing to settle in to its cozy vibe. And, Sam is an engaging enough heroine that I would think most readers would find her an appealing companion. (The book is written in the first person from Sam's point of view, which I think is always a good way to hook a younger reader.)
So, a nice mellow read for a young mystery lover, and a nice find generally.
Please note that I found this book while browsing Amazon Kindle freebies. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
This story teaches a valuable lesson, but it does so in a natural, not overly forceful way. I imagine that it would be great for kids - because it keeps you reading for the mystery and fun of the story, but unlike 'MondoJeep Racer MonsterCats' or something of that ilk, they'll get something useful out of it.
There are charming illustrations and witty jests throughout. There are a number of amusing characters, and a lot going on in the town of Briarton. The story starts just before Halloween, with our hero stuck inside due to a grounding. When you have a reputation for being a kid detective like Samantha does, people seem to be bringing you mysteries on a daily basis - and it isn't long until she gets swept into a pretty big one. In the course of solving this complex conundrum, she manages to broaden her horizons, learn a bit about life, and get accepted into a 'big girls' club of book readers in the process!
This is a great first book in a series, the second installment of which is due to arrive in the Spring. A promising debut by a writer who will assuredly be able to keep your kids entertained as much as she managed to entertain me - a nearly thirty year old dude who reads Stephen King and Lee Child.
Scary in parts, but not scary in a way that will be unpleasant for children, this has great sleuthing, fun characters, a charming setting, and an intriguing plot that clearly demonstrates important, universal values. Great reading!
P.S. This review holds it's own clues. Once you read the book see if you can figure them out. Hint: I think Ms. Fitzgerald would approve.
Mrs Allen's characters are incredibly interactive and well developed as is her story and plot. This is a great book for wanna-be detectives of all ages and anyone who likes to read. I read it and gave it to my ten year old who couldn't put it down.
I highly recommend this be added to the AR reading list for all 4-6th graders.
Amy Bowling - Review Nov 7th, 2012