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Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Creepy Case of Vampires, written by Kenneth Oppel. Harper, 2010. $6,99 ages 6 and up

"Giles nodded and sighed. It seemed that every time something went wrong with the genius business, everyone forgot all the successes they'd had, and only remembered the bad things. It wasn't much fun being thought of as a pest."

This series of early chapter books has just been re-released with new covers and artwork. They will appeal to young readers who are just moving to longer text in chapter book form. They will be enjoyed by both children and parents. Young readers will find comfort in a series which features familiar characters, mysterious circumstances and ultimately solutions to the problems faced by Barnes and the Brains.

Tina thinks she is the brains of the operation and certainly makes anyone who will listen think that she knows most everything. Her brother Kevin and Giles are part of the team, but play more minor roles in comparison to her outspoken leadership and expertise. Kevin is the more practical twin and often finds the solution to their problems; but, not without Giles' help, who is the real brain of the bunch. The plots are formulaic; but as anyone who has ever read series books knows, there is comfort in that formula and often reading success.

The plots move quickly along, with the three amateur sleuths encountering a problem, searching for a solution and finally coming up with the answer. Filled with dialogue which moves the story forward, there is also humor and often new learning attached.

Others in series include: An Incredible Case of Dinosaurs, A Weird Case of Super-Goo, A Strange Case of Magic, A Bad Case of Ghosts, A Crazy Case of Robots.

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