Sunday, July 26, 2009
The Case of the Pen Gone Missing -- René Saldaña, Jr.
Here's a neat idea, a book for young readers in the style of an old Ace Double, with the English version on one side and the Spanish version on the other. Mickey Rangel is a fifth grader who's taken detective courses on the 'net, which makes him the only hardboiled p.i. in his class. When his pretty classmate, Toots Rodríguez, is accused of stealing a fountain pen used by the president to sign an important bill, she hires Mickey to find out who did it. Well, you know how it is with a p.i. and an attractive client. Mickey is on the case, and he cracks it with the assistance of a mysterious "Angel" who leaves him notes.
The book's only about 30 pages long, with illustrations, so reluctant readers should find it attractive. The story will hold them, and other youngsters, too. My Spanish is rusty, but I had fun taking a stab at that version. I could read quite a bit of it, so I'd guess it would work fine for kids whose first language is Spanish. A neat little book.