Smashie McPerter and the Shocking Rocket Robbery

Candlewick. (Smashie McPerter Investigates: Bk. 3). Jun. 2021. 272p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763694708.
Gr 1-3–In this third book in the series, Smashie and best friend Dontel Marquise are now in third grade and still solving mysteries at Rebecca Lee Crumpler Elementary School. Griffin provides plenty of background to help readers easily follow the mysteries waiting to be solved in Smashie’s and Dontel’s latest adventure, a class field trip to the Stephen Hawking Planetarium. But on the road to the planetarium, mysteries like a missing space-related snack, Dontel’s stolen drawing of a space rocket, and the discovery of the story of Smashie’s “real” name start piling up. Even Smashie and Dontel’s friendship gets strained, and young readers may wonder if it is irrevocably broken. Throughout the story, Griffin explains scientific words like pneumatics, nebulae, and constellations, describing in detail what a trip to a planetarium is really like. Hindley’s black-and-white line drawings illustrate key plot points and showcase the diversity of Griffin’s characters. Smashie is white with brown hair, while Dontel has brown skin and curly black hair. The story is fast-paced, the chapters are filled with appealing characters, and potentially unfamiliar words are clearly explained.
VERDICT A recommended purchase to round out the series that can also be enjoyed as a stand alone. Young readers will be happily caught up in the duo’s latest mystery.

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