Maureen Grenier | The Children’s Book Review | April 20, 2014
Children will benefit from the critical thinking prompted by a soccer-themed whodunit for kids 8-12 in this second book in the Viking Club Mystery series.
In Someone’s Trapped, the second sports-mystery in the Viking Club Mysteryseries, thirteen-year-old Rebecca is horrified to discover that she has become a suspect in a series of thefts from her soccer team dressing room. In a desperate situation like this, Rebecca does what any member of the Viking Club Detective Agency would do—she calls on the other two detectives to help her solve the mystery and prove her innocence.
However, when Rebecca phones them, twelve-year-old Chris and ten-year-old Jaylon are very surprised. What’s up? The three had met during a Viking hockey tournament earlier that year and solved a mystery together. They formed the Viking Club Detective Agency on the spot, pledging to call on each other if any other mysteries cropped up. And that was that. They never heard from each other again — until now, three months later.
All the detectives are playing for the same soccer association on different teams and in different age groups, and Chris and Jaylon have their own problems to worry about. However, when they discover that Rebecca is under suspicion of having committed an actual crime, they put their own worries aside and concentrate on trapping a thief.
Mystery stories for children supply a built-in motivation for reading—they want to discover ‘whodunit?’ and they become hooked just like adult readers of mysteries. Parents and teachers who are dealing with reluctant readers are generally happy to introduce them to the joys of mystery solving.
As well, problem-solving techniques prompted by working through a mystery story encourages youngsters to engage in critical thinking. The Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute includes the promotion of detective fiction in its curriculum content—Detective Fiction: Focus on Critical Thinking—because of the problem-solving strategies inherent in investigation and crime solving, and its important life applications.
As the three young detectives grapple with the disturbing threat to Rebecca’s reputation, they learn about the problems all of them are facing. What can they do to help Chris deal with bullying from his teammates? Can they come up with a plan for Jaylon’s soccer buddy to stay on top of his game? And how will they trap whoever is stealing from Rebecca’s team?
Author Maureen Grenier asserts, “The sports world is a microcosm of life itself and through sports experiences – good and bad – children learn how to cope with life, how to work together, and what it means to be a good friend. Young readers can relate to the situations and enjoy the added suspense of a mystery, which makes reading a happy experience.”
The book is illustrated by the author, and can be ordered in paperback or hardcover from Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, FriesenPress, and Chapters, and is available on Kindle. For more information about Maureen, visit her website at http:/www.maureengrenier.com/.
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