Saturday, April 21, 2012
Review: Edgar Nominee For Best Juvenile: It Happened On A Train by Mac Barnett
The story starts with seventh grader Steve Brixton feeling kind of down. He's retired from his PI business (a fun running joke in the book), and is busy throwing out his beloved Bailey Brothers mystery books. Steve's just lost all faith in himself and what he thought the PI business stood for. So when he goes on a field trip by train, he doesn't plan to solve any more mysteries.
Until he meets a pretty (and smart) girl named Claire, and ends up taking on one last case: finding the missing (and very expensive) cars belonging to the rich Vanderdraaks. With help of his best friend Dana, Steve is a true PI, and the book has you turning the pages and laughing at the jokes that are sprinkled throughout. Chase scenes on the train and cool illustrations by Adam Rex make this a fun middle-grade mystery great for the more reluctant reader.
Verdict: Great mystery, a modern take on The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew-type stories. Fun, fast-paced.
Mystery Quotient: 5 out of 5. Solid middle-grade PI story.