The Case of the Loathsome School Lunches

Sweet Cherry. (Mina Mistry Investigates). Sept. 2020. pap. $6.99. ISBN 9781782266280.
Gr 2-5–Lake’s new mystery series for young readers is a sweet and simple addition to the genre. Mina Mistry is a girl who takes investigation extremely seriously. She collects and organizes information about the people in her life, creating personal files on each of them. When Mina’s school has a healthy eating assembly speaker, Mina and her classmates start thinking more about what they choose to eat. At lunch, she notices that many of the options being served to students are unhealthy. This gets her and her friends thinking: Why would the school promote healthy eating, but serve unhealthy foods? Something’s not right, and Mina wants to get to the bottom of it. Young readers will love the full-page, cartoon-style illustrations, which support the story content. The added plot details the pictures bring shine through. Excerpts of Mina’s various files give the chapters a nice break, adding dimension to the characters and storyline. Readers will enjoy the change of pace. The book’s fun, humorous tone will keep children giggling while maintaining investment in solving the caper.
VERDICT A pleasant mystery for those just getting into longer chapter books, and a great choice for readers who enjoy Stephen Pastis’s “Timmy Failure” series.

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