CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 15. . . .December 13, 2013
Junior sleuth Emma and her brother Justin are typical young teens whose family is suddenly thrown into turmoil. Their father is accused of stealing and is fired from his security job at a local amusement park. Ever the detective, Emma decides to disprove the accusation and get her father back his job. She and Justin sneak into the park just as it is closing, hide and watch for funny business. They use their creativity to solve the problems of getting a hand-stamp, distracting guards, hiding, and escaping a fire. Their finding out the real reason their father was let go puts them into personal peril. Typically, they have to answer to their parents and the police, and Emma demonstrates her feistiness by expecting gratitude for solving the crime!
Readers will love the fast-paced chapters with exciting endings that entice them to keep reading. The charactersí use of technology, like cell phones, makes the story more up to date and in line with the readerís lifestyle. The black and white sketches are detailed enough to not appear childish and enhance the plot, characters and the drama of the story.
HIP Junior novels are designed especially for the reluctant middle years reader. While the reading level is at grade 2.5, the interest level ranges from grade 3 to 8. The accompanying teacherís guide explains how the books include picture support and real dialogue. The plots in the series are gripping; the characters are young people, with real kidsí thoughts and actions. The double-spaced font is easy to read, and hyphens are never used at the end of a line of print.
The teacherís guide includes exercises in vocabulary building, group procedures, information about the author and activities for each chapter. The graphic organizers will help readers to organize their thoughts. Information about the series, levels, teacher and parent information and even online books can be found at http://www.hip-books.com. Roller Coaster and the series are certainly worth looking into and highly recommended for any classroom or school with reluctant readers.
Sherry Faller is a retired teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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