Saturday, June 4, 2016

Greetings from Somewhere, Book 3 - The Mystery of the Stolen Painting

I returned to the world of those world-traveling twins, Ethan and Ella Briar, with the third book in the Greetings from Somewhere series, The Mystery of the Stolen Painting. In the last book, the twins were in Italy, where they helped find a stolen gondola.  Now, the author takes them to Paris, France, where the twins happen to be in the Louvre, when a famous painting is stolen.  And that isn't the only mystery they have to solve, since their grandfather sent them an e-mail with a cryptic message about finding a hidden creperie owned by friends of his.

In just 113 pages (or less, actually, considering there is art on every page, lessening the word count, and some pages are full page pictures with no words), Harper Paris provides another cute mystery that the younger generation is sure to enjoy.  By far, it is an easy read (honestly, it took me less than 10 minutes to read the entire book), with short sentences, simple vocabulary, and a not-so-complicated mystery to solve.  However, the twins are fun to read - each has their own distinct personality, and the author keeps them grounded, not taking their adventures too far outside the realm of possibility, so that even as an adult, I can have fun reading the books.

What's interesting about this book is the fact that what is supposed to be the main mystery (the stolen painting) sort of takes a back seat to the sub-plot of finding that secret creperie.  As with previous books, their grandfather gives them a couple of clues to start them off, and it's up to Ethan and Ella to figure out the rest.  I do get a kid-like sense of enjoyment following along as they put the clues together and solve the mysteries (and in this one, so very Nancy Drew-like, they stumble upon the solution to one mystery while following the clues to the other mystery!).

Harper Paris has a good grasp on writing for young readers, and the art by Marcos Calo fits so perfectly with the tone of the series.  (And what's funny is that, as I'm sitting here writing this, looking down at the cover of the book, I just noticed for the first time that down in the bottom right corner, far below the terrace where Ethan and Ella are standing, looking out at Paris, there is a man running with a painting under his arm!)

I've said it before, and I'll gladly say it again - I would highly recommend this series to any parent who has children that are just beginning to get into chapter books.  It is the perfect level for beginning readers, and it will definitely hold their interest and leave them wanting for more!

RATING:  9 lemon and powdered sugar crepes out of 10 for a good, clean, fun mystery that pretty much anyone can enjoy!

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