Jack and the Case of the Missing Sandwich (A Jack and Sweetie Mystery Book 1) by Dawn Romeo has Jack, a Basset Hound, on a very
special case … the case of the missing peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Everyone knows how delicious a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is, but Jack
would never take anything that belonged to someone else, and especially not
food. Mr. Johnson had left his sandwich outside on his deck, gone back in to
fetch a drink, and had come out again to discover the sandwich gone and a dog
he thought was Jack walking down the driveway. When Sally, Jack’s owner, hears
Mr. Johnson’s accusation she is naturally very disturbed, as is Jack. Sally
springs to Jack’s defence, but Mr. Johnson is adamant that Jack is the culprit.
This is a case that must be investigated and it’s going to take all Jack’s
sleuthing skills to discover the clues leading to the real thief. Will Jack
solve the crime and clear his name? Is it possible there’s another dog in the
neighbourhood who looks like Jack?
charming story and a lovely little mystery that will get young readers guessing
as to what really happened and who took the sandwich. Jack uses his detecting
abilities to make an interesting discovery, and it’s one that leads to a
surprising conclusion. There are some very good life lessons here for
youngsters such as honesty being the best policy, not jumping to conclusions,
staying calm if falsely accused, and not judging someone by appearances. Other
themes include forgiveness and saying sorry, and owning up if one has done
something wrong. Delightful illustrations by Jolie Hamm will keep young readers
interested while being read to by a parent of caregiver. You don’t have to be a
Basset Hound owner to totally love Jack, and young readers can look forward to
more adventures and detective mysteries since this is book one in the series.
I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes starts with a murder, seemingly the perfect murder,
and then someone is brought into the equation – in fact the protagonist – in quite
an unassuming manner. And suddenly it’s not just about a murder in a NYC motel,
done in the flurry and inferno of the Twin Towers’ bombing so the killer can
cover their tracks. The protagonist, code named Pilgrim, has an interesting past
(an adoptive wealthy childhood) and he just happens to have written the
definitive book on forensic criminal investigation. Through this book, Pilgrim
is tracked down and given a mission upon which the world depends. America faces
mass murder using a weaponised form of a disease thought to be eradicated.
Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes is like no other book I have read. It is well worth
the hours spent reading long past your bedtime. I was a little daunted by the
size of the book, but remembering how I used to love well written, lengthy tomes,
filled with intrigue, great characters, and riveting plots (where are all those
books gone now?), I opened it. And could not put it down. I spent as much time
as possible absorbing this incredible story. However, where the author keeps
the reader gripped is in a seemingly disparate number of events that appear to
be unrelated – a public beheading in Mecca, ruins on the Turkish coast, a
flashback to the Nazi death camps, military action in the mountains of the
Hindu Kush, a doctor performing life saving deeds, a man gripped by a mission of
spiritual vengeance, the tragic and seemingly accidental death of a wealthy young
American, newly married. Did he jump off a cliff in the middle of the night,
was he pushed, or did he simply fall? And what of the beautiful widow and her
enigmatic female friend? Can one truly get away with murder? Just when a certain
event seems to fade from your mind, perhaps forgotten as you keep turning the
pages, Terry Hayes brings it back, and slips yet another thread into an increasingly
complex but somehow not at all confusing tapestry.
had given up on ‘big books,’ simply because I find most have been very timidly
edited in that the author waxes on ad infinitum and definitely ad nauseum,
filling pages with descriptive ‘guff,’ just padding the plot until (horrors)
one starts skimming. I found Hayes’ writing to be tense, succinct, relevant,
gripping. Each word plays its part. There is no extraneous detail, just solid
story. It has been a long time since I did the old trick of reading more slowly
as the book neared its end. I found myself doing that with this book, and
thinking, “Oh no,” when inevitably it came to an end. Looking for a meaty read
that is a banquet of intrigue, mystery, suspense, conspiracy, and thrilling action?
Pick up I Am Pilgrim. PS: There are no interminable “for pity’s sake kill him
already” fight scenes…
Gizmo Goes on The Polar Express,
written by Heidi Phillips and illustrated by River Wilson, is the adorable
story of a fluffy little white dog named Gizmo who has dreamed of riding on the
Polar Express on Christmas Eve. And it’s a dream that comes true because he
receives an invitation … what a wonderful looking invitation it is too! It’s a
golden ticket, it smells of milk and cookies, and it instructs the recipient to
“Believe!” All Gizmo has to do is close his eyes and drift off to sleep.
Suddenly, with blinding lights and whole lot of noise, the Polar Express
arrives! The conductor shouts, “All aboard!” This is going to be such a special
treat for all those children who have been very good. What excitement, what fun
as cookies and hot chocolate are being served. Then just as suddenly,
everything comes to a halt as Gizmo is accused of being a thief! Will he have
to give his ticket back and be put on the Naughty list? Is this a terrible
misunderstanding? It must be! But there’s the photographic evidence! Can Gizmo
clear his name with Santa? Will he miss out on visiting Santa’s Village, riding
in the sleigh, and feeding the reindeer with everyone else?
What a lovely children’s story!
This is a tale that will captivate young readers with the mix of hand drawn
illustrations and photographs of the real Gizmo and his family. I loved the
rhymes, I loved the story, and I was on tenterhooks as to how Gizmo could be
(hopefully wrongly) accused of pinching some popcorn. There are such pertinent
life lessons woven into the tale of Gizmo’s Christmas Eve, and these are
lessons that will stand young readers in good stead as they grow up. People
often look for only the bad in others, when we should be looking for the good.
We can’t control what others do; we can only control what we do and how we
react. Remaining steadfast, telling the truth, and believing in oneself is
something that all youngsters will do well to learn, and Gizmo sets a great
example. The flow of the story is fast and exhilarating, and young readers will
be caught up in the flurry of action and excitement as the Polar Express sets
off for the North Pole.
I enjoyed the way the author
captured Gizmo’s emotions of excitement, ebullience, happiness as his dream
comes true, and then the complete disappointment, the fight to hold back his
tears, the feeling of being let down because of someone else being nasty. I
think youngsters will relate to the story, and be uplifted by the joyful
ending. The end of the book shows the real-life hero, Gizmo, in his festive
Christmas jacket, enjoying a ride on a real Polar Express and visiting Santa’s
Village! This is the third of Gizmo’s adventures and, by all accounts, Gizmo
has quite a following, especially at book readings! This is a charming story
for youngsters at Christmas, but just as fun any time of the year!