Welcome back to Colleen’s Cozy Book Corner—come on in! Find a comfy spot and join me! May is National Mystery Month, so it’s a perfect to time to delve into the mystery genre here at Pioneer Valley Books.
This time I’ve chosen to report on Who’s Hiding in the Spy Museum?, written by Ellen Lewis. I’ve actually met Ellen, and she is a really nice person! This book is from our Spy Busters! Series, which follows two kids named Kayla and Tim in Washington, DC as they explore the spy museum there, learn the tools of the spy trade, and even stumble upon a few mysteries that need solving. Like any good mystery tale, this book has discerning detectives, crackerjack sleuthing, and vivid suspense!
Let’s start with the illustrations in this book. The Spy Busters! books are all graphic novels, so readers get some beautiful illustrations to draw upon. Illustrators Brian Dumm and Gabhor Utomo have made Tim, Kayla, and their surroundings come to life in colorful pen-and-ink drawings, paying attention to the impact of a pop of bright color or the mood of a shadowy space. I also love Kayla’s enormous glasses. As a kid who wore glasses since the fourth grade, I am always appreciative of a bespectacled protagonist! I applaud the artists for reveling in these touching details. In any case, for those kids who like to see what and who they are reading about, this book will be a winner.
The art, however, has not come at the expense of the story. Will Tim and Kayla’s imaginations and reasoning skills help them get to the bottom of this mystery? Who IS hiding in this museum? As the plot unfolds, readers see these two friends express curiosity, creative thinking, and commitment to their cause as they are forced to evaluate ideas, evidence, and even their own doubts! Will the ending surprise you as much as it did our industrious and likable main characters? Read and find out!
The Spy Busters! Series includes three sets of two books each, spanning Levels N–S. These are the perfect books to use with the comprehension strategy Five-Finger Retelling or answering the questions: Who, What, Where, When, and How.
Fun Factoid: While Who’s Hiding in the Spy Museum? is fiction, there really is an International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. It’s extremely popular and worth a visit!