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Monday, February 9, 2015

Things I've Read Recently (15): Valentine's Day

If you're new around here or I just haven't done one in a while, Things I've Read Recently is a series of posts I do that are basically mini-reviews of books that I either forgot to review, didn't have enough to say for a full review, or whatever reason fit my fancy. This is a special edition! There are only three in this one instead of my usual four, because I only ordered three last year, and... that's what I'm going to go with.

The Case of the Secret Valentine (A Jisgaw Jones Mystery #3) by James Prellor

Published: 1999 by Scholastic
Genre: Children's/Chapter Book Mystery, RL2
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 76
Part of a series? Yes, there's apparently about 30 of these.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound
(Affiliate links.)

Summary (from goodreads): Someone is secretly sending Jigsaw Valentines. When Jigsaw thinks about each valentine as a clue, the case starts to come together. It's a red-hot mystery for Jigsaw and Mila, the best detectives in the second grade.

Thoughts: This was cute. It was the third book in the series and I hadn't read any of the others, but it wasn't confusing or anything. I know a lot of kids who really like mystery books and this would be a great one for kids who are a little young for, say, Nancy Drew, etc. I liked how Jigsaw liked school, and also that nobody in the mystery was a "bad guy", really. While I don't think kids exactly need to be coddled like that, sometimes a little positivity is nice. I also thought it was neat that the mystery was more realistic, something a kid this age could actually solve, not a crime or anything. And Valentine's Day slant was a nice touch. It was a good seasonal book without making it impossible to read at other times of the year. Thumbs up.

Oh, also, I was completely wrong when I guessed who the culprit was. So either it was a good one or I was really not on my game reading it. Your pick!

The Valentine Baby Mystery by David A. Adler (Cam Jansen Mysteries #25)

Published: 2005 by Puffin according to my copy
Genre: Children's/Chapter Book Mystery
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 74
Part of a series? Yes. There's about 30 of these, too, and they've been around since like 1980. There's also the Young Cam Jansen series which are beginner readers.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound
(Affiliate links - and the Kindle copy of this is only like 4 dollars.)

Summary (from goodreads): It’s Valentine’s Day, and Cam is at school when she learns her mother is about to give birth. Mrs. Shelton quickly takes Cam and her best friend Eric to the hospital.There, in the waiting room, something of great value disappears. Click, click! Cam starts to unravel the mystery.Will Cam solve it before her Valentine sibling is born?

Thoughts: I read a couple of these when I was a kid and spent a couple weeks trying to train myself into having a photographic memory. You know, as you do. I was really into mystery books as a kid and I quite liked these. They've been around a long time and if this one is representative of the whole series, then they do work very well as a book for this age group. As an adult, the mystery here is a little unrealistic, but for kids, it'd work fine, and it's dramatic without the characters getting into dangerous situations, which can be upsetting for some kids. I don't know about others, mind you, but this one is good for that.

This was not super Valentine's Day focused. Other than a few scenes, there's very little that makes this a "Valentine" book. All in all, I'm not in love with these as an adult, especially since third person narration can be very dry in books for this age group, but I can see kids enjoying these easily.

Okay, this is gonna be a little spoiler-y if you care, but it bothers me a little. Cam's mom is having a baby. They don't tell her exactly when she's due, apparently, because she's literally just finished telling her friends that it could be "a few weeks". I could forgive that because babies like to surprise people. But her PARENTS decide to surprise her by NOT TELLING HER THAT THE BABY WAS TWINS. Like... that's not a good thing???? That just... bothered me. Not a big deal, just made me raise an eyebrow.

Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentime by Barbara Park (Junie B. Jones #14)

Published: 1999 by Scholastic
Genre: Children's Contemporary/Chaper Book, similar reading level to previous two
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 69 in my copy and no I'm not giggling
Part of a series? Yes, there are again around 30 of these
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound
(Affiliate links - as I'm writing this, the Paperback on Aamzon is only 4 dollars. That may change, but this would be a great little Valentime present for the young reader in your life!)

Summary (from goodreads): It's a mushy gushy mystery!

Hurray! February 14—Valentime's Day, as June B. calls it—is just around the corner. Junie B. can't wait to see all the valentimes she'll get. But she never expected a big, mushy card from a secret admirer! Who is this secret mystery guy, anyway? Junie B. is determined to find out!

Thoughts: The Junie B. Jones series are classic children's book. I read a handful when I was a kid and I remember that I liked them, but I don't think I read this one. This is also the first one I've read as an adult.

And, man, I almost died laughing reading this. Junie is spunky, she's funny, she's honestly freaking adorable. The premise unto itself is cute and her voice would appeal to children well.

But man. The adult humour that would go over the kids' heads is HILARIOUS. Like the poor teacher is probably driven to drink because of these children. There's one scene where she has to go to the sink and take aspirin and I almost giggled myself to death. I just... I was literally sitting there giggling to myself. I loved this book. And it was an awesome Valentine's book. Or Valentime's book. Either way. Great book, great seasonal book, really funny. Loved it.

Alrighty, that's it! What'd you guys think of this post?

Peace and cookies,

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