I was contacted by Blue Slip Media and asked if I would like to read and review one of the books from Doyle and Fossey, Science Detectives by Michele Torrey on my blog. The Case of the Terrible T.rex arrived last Saturday, and we read the first two stories (told in the first 5 chapters) by now. To be honest, after the first 2 chapters I asked Anna whether she still wants to read this book, since it’s targeted towards a much older audience. The main characters in the book are fifth-graders, and the book is recommended for 9-12 reading level. I would give it 10+ reading level. However, she still wanted to keep reading even though she fidgeted somewhat listening to the long chapters with very sparse pictures. Here is what I liked about the book:
- * Relationships described in the book – a strong friendship between a boy and a girl and support and trust of their working parents.
- * Structure – several independent cases rather than a long story arc, so kids might choose to read something that is interesting to them.
- * Simple scientific explanations – I especially liked the one in the first story comparing Earth make-up to a peach.
- * Potential story extensions offered in the end of the book.
I didn’t like the language. It’s hard to describe, but it felt “heavy” to me. I was having trouble picturing 5th graders calling each other Mr and Ms. I also thought that monikers Detective Drake and Naturalist Nell were used a bit too often. When I read to myself, I am sensitive to whether the language world flows for me or doesn’t. In this case it most certainly didn’t.
Still I do recommend Science Detectives books to older kids. And now it’s a good time to win a couple of them since author Michele Torrey is hosting a giveaway of her fun Doyle and Fossey, Science Detective books! Four lucky winners will receive copies of the two newest books in the series, THE CASE OF THE TERRIBLE T.rex and THE CASE OF THE CROOKED CARNIVAL, plus a cool test tube kit. To enter, send an e-mail to DoyleandFossey@gmail.com. In the body of the e-mail, include your name and e-mail address (if you're under 13, submit a parent's name and e-mail address). One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on 11/18/10. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on 11/19/10 and notified via email. Check Michele’s website after Nov 22 for the list of winners!