A favourite librarian friend who is very serious about Readers’ Advisory asked me to recommend a children’s book to read – a book outside her comfort zone of serious, literary, grown-up books. I recommended The Dead Kid Detective Agency series - in general - and the most recent book four, in particular. The series is really funny in both slap-stick and witty ways; but, it also has a sneaky literary side...
October Schwartz is a nerdy, goth, high school girl who has five dead kid friends. They are ghosts, only she can see, from different periods of Canadian history. October and her friends are working through solving each of the ghost kids’ murders. In this book 4, they are solving Tabetha Scott’s murder, who escaped slavery with her dad, along the underground railway in the 1860s. Throughout the book, the author presents racism – Canadian racism - in an astute way, squeezing serious literary content into a fast paced plot, including Scooby-doo type chases and running from dogs and evil football players - I love that the popular clique are the bad guys!
I’m looking forward to the next book, and future projects by Evan Munday.
Juvenile Fiction Paperback pr2618956
The Case of Windy Lake: A Mighty Muskrats Mystery by Michael Hutchinson
Libraries across Canada consistently request books for all ages in fiction and non-fiction by indigenous authors and/or about indigenous characters. This book fulfills both criteria. The author of this book is a member of the Misipawistik Cree Nation, north of Winnipeg. His book is the first in a mystery series, set on Windy Lake First Nation.
Four inseparable cousins – nicknamed the Mighty Muskrats – overhear their uncle from the Windy Lake Police Service talking about a visiting archeologist. His boat was found but he is missing. The Muskrats decide to investigate. Their relationships with a wide range of people in Windy Lake helps them to piece together where the archeologist might have been, but it’s their own knowledge of Windy Lake and its wildlife that solves the case.
Concurrent with their investigation, the four cousins are obedient, respectful kids, doing chores and running errands for their grandfather and uncle. Also during their investigation a fifth, older cousin is involved in a protest. She engages in civil disobedience regarding a company she feels is endangering Windy Lake’s water. During her protest she gains a better understanding of the company’s perspective, or at least, the perspective of its workers. I think that’s an interesting decision by the author. This book shares what life for these kids is like. Depending on the reader, it’s a window or mirror they will welcome. For me, I learned a few things, and look forward to reading more in this series.
Juvenile Fiction Paperback pr2666304