SERIES MADE SIMPLE

The Body in the Woods: Be a Crime Scene Investigator

. 9781538206294. ea vol: 48p. (Crime Solvers). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Gareth Stevens. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $31.95. pap. $14.05.
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Gr 6–8—So interactive is this series, readers are prompted to participate in solving the crime as it unfolds from the point of discovery to closure. The featured crime solver may be the professional called in after the dispatcher, patrol officers, detectives, coroner, or others, do their job. Evidence is collected and "Solve It!" questions challenge reader comprehension or math skills about the information, such as guessing a motive or working out the victim's time of death. A one-page profile of each professional reveals the best and worst part of their job, the education and skills required, and a description of their most interesting case. Each title offers six mini-activities to do at home called "Evidence Bag Challenges," such as making fake blood to spatter on paper from different angles to re-create a crime scene, or asking friends to test their observational recall to a staged event, as a witness would. Graphics show how to organize a search by various grid methods or how angles can determine the shape and origin of blood spatter. Related jobs include forensic botanist, ballistic expert, forensic archaeologist, and facial reconstruction artists. Enlarged photos of ballistics and skulls are intriguing to see up close.
VERDICT Critical thinking and math activities make this a fabulous purchase for careers or independent reading.

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