Review: Bradley and Brian and their friends Nate and Lucy have volunteered to sell 100 tickets to attend the performance of a traveling circus, only to discover that it isn't much of a circus — though there is a mysterious masked performer, whose awesome feats of aerial dynamics capture their attention — in August Acrobat, the eighth mystery in this early chapter series for children by Ron Roy.
After selling out their allotment of tickets, the four friends visit the playing fields, where the circus tent has been set up. Peeking inside the tent, they first see someone wearing a mask doing daring acrobatics high above a net, then later they see a boy, awkwardly trying — and largely failing — to do the same. They are dismayed to learn that the circus consists of only four family members, two parents and two teenaged children: a boy, who they saw perform — and really wasn't very good, and a girl, who runs the front office. But, then, if the boy is the only performer, who was the masked acrobat?
August Acrobat is an enjoyable mystery, one that relies on observation and deduction to solve. In addition to the "who-is-it" element of the story, there is a subplot involving the kids' concern that there might not be much value in the tickets they sold to their family and friends, and subsequently rounding up local talent to both compensate for the family's boy being such a poor performer, and to expand on the entertainment presented. It's a subtle, but effective way of introducing the concept of recognizing and taking responsibility for one's actions.
August Acrobat is labeled by the publisher as RL 2.1 (2nd grade reading level), or ages 6 to 9. The Lexile measure is 510L.
A complete list of titles in this series can be found at First Clues: Calendar Mysteries.
Acknowledgment: Random House provided a copy of August Acrobat for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Random House (Paperback), June 2012
ISBN-13: 9780375868825; ISBN-10: 0375868828
Turkey Trouble on the National Mall
Random House (Paperback), August 2012
ISBN-13: 9780307932204; ISBN-10: 0307932206
Location(s) referenced in August Acrobat: Connecticut
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August Acrobat by Ron Roy — A Calendar Mystery
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: June 2012
List Price: $4.99