The Case of the Ruby Slippers by Martha Freeman

Cindy: Booklist might have officially wrapped up Mystery Month, but Bookends is still on the case! We love mysteries and won’t stop covering them just because May is over.  The Case of the Ruby Slippers (Holiday House 2012) is a fun addition to the First Kids Mystery series. This was my introduction to the series but it wasn’t hard to catch up with young sleuths Cammie and Tess and their dog Hooligan. Judy Garland’s chant, “There’s no place like home,” takes on special meaning when you live in The White House! The girls are the daughters of the first female president and the details about life there are woven into the mystery. In this case, a pair of the famous ruby slippers from the filming of The Wizard of Oz are loaned to the White House for a special birthday party. When the shoes come up missing, the girls are on the case. The mystery might be a little hard to follow for the young intended audience but everything is adequately explained by the end. I have to admit that I cringed when Hooligan showed up with one of the valuable shoes in his mouth! The Smithsonian curator surely would have been more panicked by this treatment!

It seems that I spend much of my time seeking out hi-lo books for my middle schoolers. You know, high interest for teens who read at a low reading level. They are tough to find. But equally tough is the job of finding challenging reading material for young readers who are reading above grade level but who are not ready for mature content. This series would be great for those early readers who are looking for a challenge. The vocabulary and the ethical issues presented in the mystery will give them something to chew on, along with characters that they can relate to, despite the circumstances of the girls’ high profile life as first children.

Lynn:  My elementary school book club kids and I discovered this series this year with The Case of the Diamond Dog Collar (Holiday House 2011), which is the second book in the series.  They were hooked and so was I.  None of  us could resist the “first kids” or their havoc-wreaking dog Hooligan.  None of us had read the first book in the series either, The Case of the Rock ‘N’ Roll Dog (Holiday House 2010) but there was plenty of back matter provided so we never felt lost.  A charming series and one that feels very timely with 2 other first kids residing in the White House!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

1 Comment on "The Case of the Ruby Slippers by Martha Freeman"

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  1. Bob Brooks says:

    As usual, this is a very nice review. I have linked to it on my Pinterest site: Children’s Book World. Thank you. Bob Brooks

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