________________ CM . . . Volume XIX Number 4. . . .September 28, 2012


Judy Moody, Girl Detective. (Judy Moody, #9).

Megan McDonald. Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.
Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press (Distributed in Canada by Random House of Canada), 2011.
170 pp., pbk., $7.00.
ISBN 978-0-7636-4349-2.

Subject Headings:
Mystery and detective stories.
Lost and found possessions-Fiction.
Police dogs-Fiction.
Labrador retriever-Fiction.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Deborah Mervold and Kira Gerein.

**** /4



"Why are you under the covers? It is the middle of the day."

"Nancy Drew says a person should never be afraid of the dark. So I was practicing."

"Why do you have a flashlight?"

"A good detective always keeps a flashlight under her pillow."

"Does Nancy Drew do that?"

"Hel-lo! Haven't you read The Message in the Hollow Oak?"


Judy and her brother, Stink, begin Judy Moody, Girl Detective with a conversation in which Stink asks questions about what Judy is doing. Judy shares her knowledge about being a detective based on the Nancy Drew mystery books. She points out that they need to stay alert and they will find a mystery to solve.

      At school, in her Grade 3 class, Judy attempts to solve the mystery of Mr. Todd's missing glasses. Judy is prepared with a detective pack that Nancy would have recommended, including money (in case of a kidnapping), a disguise (to follow suspects) and a bobby pin (to pick locks or handcuffs). That day, they have a special guest in class. Officer Kopp and his puppy, Mr. Chips, who is being trained as a police dog, come to talk to the students. The students enjoy the experience and are devastated the next day when they are informed that Mr. Chips is missing. Judy sees a case and swears in her two friends, Rocky and Frank, and her brother, Stink, as detectives to assist her on the case. They go to Officer Kopp's house to see the " scene of the crime" . They conclude that Mr. Chips has been dognapped, and they decide they will solve the case. At the Speedy Market, a lady reports that she has seen a green van with a dog looking like Mr. Chips. The children find the van, but it speeds out of the parking lot. They know that they have a clue. The van has a plumbing logo which prompts the detectives to destroy toilets so that the " mystery plumbers" in the van will be called to the location and they will be able to find the puppy.

     When food starts disappearing, they put cookies in the window to entice the thief. Mr. Chips reappears to grab the cookies, and he is " rescued" . Judy is sure that the thieves have been training the puppy to steal, starting with food and then moving up to diamonds. Officer Kopp assures her that no diamonds have been reported as stolen, an assurance that encourages Judy to believe that not only has she found the puppy, but she has also stopped the jewel thieves.

     The theme of this eight book in the Judy Moody series is mysteries based on the Nancy Drew series. There are numerous references to Nancy Drew books. Judy refers to WWNDD (what would Nancy Drew do?). The " Who's Who" pictures of the characters at the beginning of the book all connect to the theme with names and pictures representing the mystery theme. Dialogue is realistic and humorous. The vocabulary is suitable for the intended audience while sentences are short and direct.

      The 10 chapters are short and have titles which add humour as well as develop the plot. They have titles such as " The Case of the Bothersome Brother" , " The Case of the Missing Mr. Chips" and " The Case of the Curious Cookie Crumbs" . The characters are a continuation from the other books in the series. The pen and ink illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds add interest and humour to the text.

      Although Judy Moody, Girl Detective is a part of a series, this book also stands alone. The author includes pages about the author and illustrator at the end of the book. As well, there is an additional story entitled " Judy Moody and the Mystery of the Missing Mood Ring" which is very appropriate to the audience. Reference to a Judy Moody website (Judy Moody.com) is included. .

      Judy Moody, Girl Detective would appeal to a variety of readers, including readers of humour, mystery and realistic fiction. This book would be an excellent class novel for individual reading or as a read aloud choice. It would be an excellent addition for personal, class, school and public libraries. .

Highly Recommended.

Deborah Mervold is an educator from Shellbrook, SK, who is now doing faculty training and program development at Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology. Kira Gerein is a Grade 5 student in Saskatoon, SK.

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

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