No Orchids for Andrea!
Chrystine Brouillet. Illustrated by Nathalie Gagnon. Translated by Linda Gaboriau.
Grades 2 - 5 / Ages 7 - 10.
In South Africa, people believe that the Corycium nigrescens can ward off bad luck and the devil. In Mexico, there is a Jesus flower, Laelia rubescens, and the flower of the dead, Oncidium tigrinum. There's also an orchid called Dracula.
This delightful, well thought out mystery, full of suspense and challenge, begins with Andrea, like many children, desperately wanting to earn some money. When Andrea realizes that certain orchids can be worth thousands of dollars, she considers them as a possible source of income. Andrea and her friend Arthur attend a lecture given by Professor Cavendish, an orchid grower, who invites the inquisitive children to visit his greenhouse. Their visit leads them into danger as they enter the world of these exotic flowers and the mystery of the Black Pearl, an orchid the professor and his assistant, Scarface, are attempting to develop because its rare colour will make it most valuable.
The mystery's pace accelerates when Professor Cavendish asks the children to look after his greenhouse while he attends a private meeting of orchid lovers in Texas to discuss the Black Pearl. In his absence, someone breaks into the greenhouse, ransacks it while stealing some items, and physically attacks another of Andrea's friends, Mikis. With the assistance of Andrea's dog, Sherlock, the children uncover many clues and suspect that Scarface, despite his kind, helpful nature, could be the bad guy.
Like most juvenile mysteries, No Orchids for Andrea! contains a number of engaging plot twists and an appropriate assortment of suspects. The quickly paced plot will hold readers' attention and challenge their imaginative minds.
Naomi Gerrard, a CANSCAIP member, has been fascinated with children's literature for years.
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Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - APRIL 11, 1997.
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