Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mysterious Buildings

Hocus Pocus HotelDahl, Michael. Hocus Pocus Hotel
1 August 2012
Nominated for the Cybils by Stone Arch Books

Charlie thinks that he is going to be beaten up by Tyler Wu, who is silent but thuglike, when Tyler sends him a note. Instead, Charlie meets Tyler at the Abracadabra Hotel that Tyler's parents run. Tyler needs Charlie's help with determining where one of the residents has gone. Charlie has a photographic memory and good deductive skills, so the two navigate the eccentricities of the old building (and sometimes equally old residents!) to solve the case. After this, Tyler suspects that there is a ghost in the hotel, and Charlie is also instrumental in figuring out that case.This book costs $10.95, while when split into two different books (Out the Rear Window and To Catch a Ghost), the cost of each is $17.99. A new book is coming out in January 2013, but I can't tell if it is one book or two!
Strengths: This is realistic fiction, and a decent, if predicable mystery. I've been doing a brisk business in Ron Roy, Donald Sobol and short Nancy Drew mysteries with children who "forgot" to pick up mystery books for a language arts unit test, and this would fit the bill.
Weaknesses. This is a low level, high interest books, and the prose is not beautiful.

The Lost Treasure of TuckernuckFairlie, Emily. The Lost Treasure of Tuckernuck.
25 September 2012, Katherine Tegen Books
Nominated for the Cybils by Robert

Even though her family has gone to Tuckernuck Junior High for generations, Laurie would rather go to Hamilton with her friend Kimmy. She's even more irritated when, for a class job, she gets chosen gerbil co-monitor with the annoying Bud. Still, there is the hope that the school will actually be torn down and all the students relocated to other schools. In a stroke of luck, Laurie comes across a clue to the lost treasure that the founding principal, Maria Tutweiler, hid in the building, and she decides that this will make her year better, so she and Bud take off on a chase that includes breaking into offices and trying to avoid the prying eyes of a student journalist. There are also other concerns, such as Kimmy making new friends, and the evil school board member bent on the destruction of Tuckernuck Hall. Even if Laurie can find the treasure, will it be enough to save the school?
Strengths: This reminded me of The Red Blazer Girls, with its clue-oriented mystery and school setting. I thought that the ending had a clever twist to it, which I don't want to ruin!
Weaknesses: High slappage factor on Laurie. She is unhappy and rather unpleasant for most of the book.

1 comment:

  1. I have heard of Hocus Pocus Hotel and it does sound interesting. I am glad to hear that it is high interest. I haven't heard of The Lost Treasure of Tuckernuck- awesome to hear the ending was so good.