CM . . .
. Volume XXIV Number 40. . . .June 15, 2018
Lark Takes a Bow. (Orca Echoes).
Natasha Deen. Illustrated by Marcus Cutler.
Victoria, BC: Orca Books, October, 2018.
88 pp., pbk., pdf & epub., $6.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-1715-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-1716-6 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-1717-3 (epub).
Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.
Review by Janice Foster.
Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.
“You heard what Miss Balza said. If we don’t catch the prankster, the play gets canceled. We have to tell her what we know.”
“Give me ten minutes to think about it,” I pleaded. “And if I can’t think of another suspect, then we’ll talk to Miss Balza, okay?”
Young readers will once again enjoy an entertaining adventure when Lark and her twin brother Connor set out to find the prankster who might shut down their community play, Alice in Wonderland. The aspiring detectives must determine the motive and the key suspects. They begin investigating the different scenes of the pranks looking for clues. When another prank is committed right during their investigation, the search is narrowed down to a fellow classmate. But the lack of a motive makes Lark re-examine the clues. When she discovers the culprit is a friend, the twins face the dilemma of getting the friend into trouble or saving the play.
Lark Takes a Bow is the third book in the “Orca Echoes” Lark Ba series, the first two being Lark Holds the Key and Lark and the Diamond Caper. Author Natasha Deen blends social development issues into a humourous mystery. The young audience will enjoy the interesting characterizations in the story, particularly that of Lark. The first person narration highlights Lark’s family, her fascination with words, her enthusiasm, her dyslexia and her empathy, not to mention how funny she is. The amusing black and white illustrations by Marcus Cutler add appeal and humour. The section at the end of the book, “The Words Lark Loves”, explains some of the words and idioms readers might find puzzling.
The readers of this delightful mystery will easily engage in the detection strategy that Lark and her brother follow. Identifying the suspects, establishing a motive, finding clues and reflecting on the evidence illustrate the main elements in the mystery genre. Because of Lark Takes a Bow’s humour and entertaining characters, readers will look forward to further books in this series and might venture into exploring other mystery books.
Janice Foster is a retired teacher and teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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