February 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

JLG’s On the Radar: New Mystery and Adventure Titles for Elementary Students

Time travel, 200-year-old clues, and a gaggle of atypical princes fill out the dance card for new mystery and adventure novels. A trio of sixth graders takes on urban development. In Costa Rica, three kids witness a burglary at their rainforest Eco lodge. A band of princes uses their less-than-herolike skills to infiltrate a villain’s castle. Making friends in a less-than-traditional method, a seventh grade boy finds companionship among the magical. School-aged readers are sure to find adventure in these new fiction titles from the comfort of their own summer surroundings.

In Harm's WayCLEMENTS, Andrew. In Harm’s Way: Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School. illus. by Adam Stower. S & S/Atheneum. 2013. ISBN 9781416938897. JLG Level: A+ : Intermediate Readers (Grades 3–5).

The Keepers of the School thought that their work was done after the discovery of a secret hideaway for the Underground Railroad in the Captain Duncan Oakes School, ―no bulldozer could destroy the historical building. What Benjamin, Jill, and Robert learn is that their detective work only saved a portion of the structure. Determined to keep their enemy ―janitor Justin Lyman―at bay, their investigation is complicated by the hiring of some muscle and another pair of eyes to spy on the trio. The Keepers continue to unravel the puzzle of clues left by Captain Oakes. They must think like the mariner, “After three hooks pass, one will be brass.” Ben isn’t sure what skills he brings to the team, so in an effort to prove his worth, he tries to solve it on his own. Can he unlock the puzzle and save the school? Whether new to the series or not, readers will race through the chapters as solving the mystery leads the characters into harm’s way.

Double CrossGIBBS, Stuart. Double Cross: The Last Musketeer. HarperCollins. 2013. ISBN 9780062048448. JLG Level: ME : Mystery/Adventure Elementary (Grades 2–6).

“All for one, and one for all.” The fourth musketeer, D’Artagnan, is also known as Greg, a time traveler whose future is in jeopardy if Michel Dinicoeur and Cardinal Richelieu have their way. King Louis XIII is also in danger if the Musketeers can’t break out of prison before they are hanged. With Milady de Winter in league with the Prince of Condé, and all three groups after the Devil’s Stone, time is of the essence. The Musketeers must save the King, and find the Stone first in order to stop events that can change the present and the future. Full of sword fights and daring escapes, this Musketeer adventure leaves readers as exhilarated as the characters themselves.

Storming the CastleHEALY, Christopher. The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle. HarperCollins/Walden Pond. 2013. ISBN 9780062118455. JLG Level: ME : Mystery/Adventure Elementary (Grades 2–6).

In Book Two of The Hero’s Guide, our fearless princes have a new task―rescue Prince Liam from Briar Rose who is using him to acquire more power. The League reforms and a weak, but hilarious, plan throws them right into the castle of Raubar, the Bandit King―a ten-year-old self-made sovereign who enjoys being the bad guy. Rundark, who is a true villain, accepts the boy’s invitation to his castle because he can’t understand why a ruler with so little credibility as a criminal, can have the admiration of his men and the fear of the people. Once he unravels the mystery, Raubar is as good as dead, but the League of Princes bring their bungling, unheroic efforts to save the kingdom from Briar Rose’s misguided scheme, and cause chaos and laughter in their wake. Witty dialogue and eccentric characters take this fractured fairy tale to places less than happily-ever-after in this fun adventure.

Hide and SeekMESSNER, Kate. Hide and Seek. Scholastic. 2013. ISBN 9780545419758. JLG Level: ME : Mystery/Adventure Elementary (Grades 2–6).

The Silver Jaguar Society has been protecting some of the world’s most important historical artifacts for centuries. With junior members José, Anna, and Henry on the case, the missing Jaguar Cup is sure to be found. On a trip to Costa Rica, the trio finds itself in the middle of a mystery―who sent the counterfeit cup to the exhibit and where is the real relic? A guest at the jungle lodge claims to have seen a species that doesn’t live in the area. A Society member secretly takes a great deal of money from one tourist. Suspects are everywhere. When José’s lack of self-confidence causes him to put his own life in danger, he begins to reconsider the value of teamwork, but is it too late for him to learn that lesson? Narrow escapes and short, cliff-hanger chapters create an adventure that seems like an afternoon at the movies.

MenagerieSUTHERLAND, Tui T. and Kari Sutherland. The Menagerie. HarperCollins. 2013. ISBN 9780060780647. JLG Level: ME : Mystery/Adventure Elementary (Grades 2–6).

“Logan Wilde noticed the feathers as soon as he woke up.” He would later discover that they belong to a baby griffin. The move to Wyoming has been less than exciting and learning to live without his mom is difficult. His dad says that living in a new place will help him adjust, but Logan continues to have trouble making friends. Classmate Zoe and her family are responsible for the health and well-being of a mythical creatures menagerie. SuperNatural Animal Protection Agency (SNAPA) will arrive soon to inspect the facility, looking for infractions that could close them down. Though normally Zoe’s family would erase a stranger’s memory, Logan quickly becomes part of the group, as he has a knack for tracking the animals. Can they find the runaway cubs before the SNAPA agents arrive? Fantastical creatures in a dangerous, time-ticking situation builds tension in this adventure novel that keeps readers surprised at every turn.

Junior Library Guild is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at www.JuniorLibraryGuild.com.


Deborah B. Ford About Deborah B. Ford

Deborah is the Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild. She is an award-winning teacher librarian with almost 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools.

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