All for a Game

9781616419509. ea vol: illus. by Bob Doucet. 80p. (Haven't Got a Clue!). ABDO/Magic Wagon. Jan. 2014. lib. ed. $18.95.
Gr 2–4—With his notebook in tow, detective and fourth grader Jon Gummyshoes easily solves every case he investigates. In All for a Game, Jon determines whether the holes that have appeared in the soccer field are connected to a missing copy of the Warlock Rule video game, and he befriends the new kid in his school who goes on to become his partner in future cases. Jon changes schools in Duck, Dive, Rock & Roll and solves a case involving a threat to the famous band Hearts Not Farts. Triple Take has Jon attempting to retrieve his dog from the pound while his partner considers quitting the detective business. The occasional use of black-and-white drawings separates the short chapters, though individual expressions appear static at times. Characters often lack development and appear more as stock representations than fully nuanced in their interactions. Pictures of "The Usual Suspects" and a "Note From the Detective's Files" begin each case while a "Page from Gummyshoes's Notebook" summarizes a few key points from each mystery. Jon is dedicated to his search to connect the clues, though the convenient outcomes will likely fail to surprise most readers.—Meg Smith, Cumberland County Public Library, Fayetteville, NC
Jon Gummyshoes is not your average fourth grader; he's also a part-time detective. The four books each follow a new case for Gummyshoes, all of which consist of pat foils and foes and ups and downs. Though the series is predictable and undistinguished, younger middle-grade readers may find the sleuthing capers manageable. The flat black-and-white pictures are tensionless. Review covers these Haven't Got a Clue! titles: All for a Game, Comic Relief, Duck, Dive, Rock & Rock, and Give Me Liberty or Give Me Detention!.

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