________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 16 . . . . April 3, 2009

cover Forensic Evidence: Blood. (Crabtree Contact).

Darlene Stille.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3837-4 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-3815-1 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
Criminal investigation-Juvenile literature. Blood-Juvenile literature.
Forensic sciences-Juvenile literature. Evidence, Criminal-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-8 / Ages 9-13.

Review by Marilynne V. Black.

**½ /4


The police want to find out if a crime has been committed. The police put crime scene tape around the man’s home. They send for the crime scene investigators. They are known as CSIs. CSIs look for evidence at the crime scene.They look for evidence such as blood, fingerprints, and hairs. The CSIs wear gloves, masks, shoe covers, and white overalls. The overalls and gloves prevent CSIs from leaving their own hairs or fingerprints at the crime scene. They must keep any evidence clean.

The crime scene investigators search the entire apartment. They take photographs and make videos. They put markers where they find evidence. A CSI finds a tiny piece of tissue. It looks as if there is dried blood on the tissue.

The author, Darlene Stille, is a prolific science writer with approximately 100 books to her credit. In this succinctly written book, she clearly explains one aspect of criminal investigation: blood evidence. In each chapter, she takes the reader step-by-step through a possible crime from the report of a missing man, the gathering of evidence at his apartment, the testing of the blood evidence found, the identification of two suspects, through to the laying of a charge. Important words are highlighted and simply explained in a glossary. For example, the word nucleus is defined as ”The centre part of a cell that contains DNA." Other features, such as Need-To-Know Words, Need-To-Know Facts, Crime Online, and one page Index, extend the book’s use.

    The overall design of the book is very good. Each page contains a variety of text, pictures and diagrams. With its 32 page format, ample white space, diagrams, and simple writing style, the book certainly meets the intended audiences’ needs. The graphics, such as photographs, are colourful, clear and well labeled, and laid out in a variety of formats and backgrounds that add visual interest as well as giving clear explanations. For instance, two overlapping photos of the living room and bathroom of the apartment where the crime may have been committed are on a black background with white typography. Blood-red ovals, labeled “Results” emphasize strategic findings.

     This book is from the “Crabtree Contact” series that encompasses such diverse titles as Bone Detectives, Crime Lab Technician, Monster Crocs, Tank Warfare, and Werewolf Attack. The books are written by a variety of authors. All are rated by the publisher as having a Grade 2 to 3 reading level and an interest level from grade 4 to 8.

     Unfortunately, there’s a small error in a diagram on page 17 that somewhat detracts from the quality of the book: “Two X chromosomes mean the blood is from a female. X + X = female. An X and a Y chromosome means the blood is from a male. X + X = male.” The latter should read X + Y = male. Nonetheless, this is a good introduction for a wide range of readers, especially those not quite ready for Crime Scene, by Vivien Bowers.


Marilynne V. Black is a former B.C. elementary teacher-librarian who completed her Master of Arts in Children’s Literature (UBC) in the spring of 2005. She is now working as an independent children's literature consultant with a web site at: www.heartofthestory.ca.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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