________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 39 . . . . June 8, 2012


Max Finder Mystery: Collected Casebook Volume 6.

Craig Battle. Created by Liam O’Donnell. Illustrated by Ramón Pérez.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids, 2012.
96 pp., pbk., hc., & eBook, $11.95 (pbk.), $15.95 (hc.), $9.95 (eBook).
ISBN 978-1-926973-21-0 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-926973-22-7 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-926973-23-4 (eBook).

Subject Headings:
Detective and mystery comic books, strips, etc.
Mystery games.

Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14.

Review by Crystal Sutherland.

**** /4



You know how Spider-Man has his spidey sense? Well, I have my mystery radar. It’s the feeling I get when a mystery is about to present itself to me, and it’s almost never wrong. It was an ordinary Tuesday morning , but my radar has been going off from the moment I woke up. It sat with me while I ate my breakfast cereal, chased me on my skateboard all the way to school, and was still there as I was grabbing books from my locker and getting ready to head to class.

So when I heard a small, squeaky voice calling my name from some unknown place in the halls, I wasn’t so much surprised as confused. I recognized the voice, but it couldn’t be…could it?

Max and Alison are never far when strange things happen. It’s not that they’re troublemakers; they love to stick their noses into other people’s business, welcome or not, but only to ensure justice is done! No one in Whispering Meadows minds the meddling duo, unless he or she has been up to mischief. There isn’t a case Max and Alison can’t solve. Whether it’s cheating gamers, spoiled birthday plans, or seemingly spontaneous purple pool water, Max and Alison resist jumping to conclusions and search out the guilty parties, no matter how carefully they have covered their tracks.

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     Before any cases are tackled, 15 characters, including Max and Alison, are introduced in the “Top Secret Character Lineup” which provides name, occupation (including detective, magician, and ‘usual suspect’ among others), and where they can usually be found. After these short introductions, Max and Alison are on to their first case. Readers need to pay extremely close attention in order to find all of the clues as the person who looks most guilty is not always so in the end. The facts used to single out the guilty party are explained at the end of each mystery. Finding the culprit sometimes depends on the smallest detail in one panel of a comic. Cases can be pretty tough! Readers must pay close attention in order to solve a case, but they will never be left wondering who was guilty in the end as Max and Alison leave no details out.

     Instructions on how to host a mystery party are provided at the end of the book. The instructions are very detailed, reminding the planner to give character descriptions and roles so participants come prepared to play. It makes sense that a case from the book is used as an example, but it‘s unfortunate no new case ideas are given, and readers are not explicitly encouraged to use their imaginations and create their own cases.

     The last pages are dedicated to ideas for using Max Finder Mysteries in the classroom. The ideas are wonderful, but the “DIY Mystery”, having students outline and draw a mystery for another student to solve, requires details from Volume 3 I’m sure, however, that any teacher could create a lesson plan without the guidelines from Volume 3. Overall, the volume contains great mysteries to solve and activities that promote creativity and critical thought.

Highly Recommended.

Crystal Sutherland is resource librarian at the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women, an arms-length government agency created to educate the public and advise the provincial government on issues affecting women.

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

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ISSN 1201-9364
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