Review: Twins Brian and Bradley and their friends Lucy and Nate are on their way to the town baseball field to enter their pony and dog into an Independence Day contest when suddenly the pets bolt and run and subsequently cannot be found in July Jitters, the seventh "Calendar Mystery" by Ron Roy.
Polly — she's the pony — and Pal were dressed in Revolutionary War costumes when they took off. They shouldn't be hard to find, dressed as they are, but as the friends follow what they assume must have been the path the pets took, they are nowhere to been seen, as if they vanished into thin air. When they've just about given up hope, they stumble across a clue that suggests where Polly and Pal might be …
The mystery in July Jitters is really rather thin, even for an early chapter book. It takes a long time — page 33 of a 71 page book — before Polly and Pal disappear, the act of which seems largely to be an excuse for the kids to go off on a mini-adventure through their town than anything else. And from that perspective, this is an entertaining book and young readers will be happy to tag along with them. But one can't help wonder why they couldn't find Polly and Pal almost immediately.
*** Spoiler Alert ***
The story has the two pets disappearing behind the Shangri-la Hotel, which — according to the very helpful map provided at the start of the book — is across the street from the baseball field, where the pet contest is being held. But behind the hotel is the Children's Petting Zoo, which is where the kids ultimately find Polly and Pal. How is it possible they followed the pets behind the hotel and didn't see them immediately? Or even take the time to investigate the zoo, to see if they might be there? They would have had to walk right through the area to start their adventure. Readers are bound to be slightly disappointed that their literary peers seem to be so inept in solving their little mystery, exciting though it may be.
July Jitters 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 July Jitters for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Trapped on the D.C. Train!
Random House (Paperback), May 2011
ISBN-13: 9780375859267; ISBN-10: 0375859268
Random House (Paperback), June 2012
ISBN-13: 9780375868863; ISBN-10: 0375868860
Location(s) referenced in July Jitters: Connecticut
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July Jitters by Ron Roy — A Calendar Mystery
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: June 2012
List Price: $4.99