________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 2. . . .September 15, 2017


Lark and the Diamond Caper. (Orca Echoes).

Natasha Deen. Illustrated by Marcus Cutler.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2017.
91 pp., pbk., pdf & epub, $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-4598-1400-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-1401-1 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-1402-8 (epub).

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Janice Foster.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



I grabbed Connor’s arm and whispered, “This is so great! It’s a case!” I stepped forward into the group of grown-ups. “Mrs. Lee, Connor and I are private investigators. Can you tell us what happened? Maybe we can help.”

“Oh, Lark, Connor, that’s very sweet of you to offer.” … “It’s a big theft, though, and I think we should wait for the police.”


Lark and the Diamond Caper is the second title in the “Lark Ba Detective” series featuring Lark and her twin brother Connor. The two children who had recently solved the mystery of the missing library key in Lark Holds the Key eagerly await a new case. After making posters to advertise, they set off with Halomi, the Korean word for grandmother, to put one up in the post office inside the Lees’ general store. When they arrive, they discover that a pair of diamond earrings has been stolen. The police are delayed, and so Lark and Connor seize the opportunity to solve the mystery. Realizing that the adults don’t want to share information with children, they decide on a technique Lark read about in a book. By being quiet and listening, the suspects might spill the beans. With Halomi’s help, they begin the complicated investigation.

     Lark and the Diamond Caper is an “Orca Echoes” short chapter book for younger readers. Lark’s narrative voice paints a clear picture of this interesting character and her family. The story opens with the twins planning a magic trick for their family talent night. The mention of magic tricks will grab readers’ attention and draw them into the mystery as it gradually unfolds. The inclusion of amusing black and white drawings by Marcus Cutler in each chapter enhance the text and add appeal for young readers.

     Lark is not merely an amusing character in a story. Author Natasha Deen has cleverly created a realistic personality with traits to which many children can relate. Lark is a mixed-raced girl who handles a variety of situations with ease and a positive attitude. When reading a pancake recipe or a magic trick, she mentions her dyslexia and how coloured paper helps her read. Lark’s fascination with words adds humour to her writing. Her authorship of the text often includes crossed out words delishush deelishus delicious, idioms which are explained at the end of the book and even typical words for her age group, like bestest. When a classmate calls her baa baa Lark sheep, Lark doesn’t react but rather sees the humour behind it.

     “Orca Echoes” books for seven to nine years olds are useful for programs that address the topics of social responsibilities and character building through entertaining stories. Lark and the Diamond Caper combines problem solving and social development issues into an appealing, funny mystery. Young readers will be waiting for the next title in the series.

Highly Recommended.

Janice Foster is a retired teacher and teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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