Marty Frye, Private Eye:
The Case of the Missing Action Figure
By Janet Tashjian, Illustrated by Laurie Keller
Published by: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); Revised edition (June 27, 2017)
Available in: hardcover, paperback
At the time of this review, there were two books in the Marty Frye, Private Eye series.
Marty Frye, Private Eye: The Case of the Missing Action Figure follows an inquisitive kid who likes to rhyme while he solves crime. His quirky, simple, and rhythmic adventures are endearing and sweet, and just right for the early chapter book reader.
The book’s art direction aids the newly independent reader with text that is bold and big, and bubble quotes interspersed within the prose (especially when our protagonist is rhyming). Combined with quirky, loose illustrations that echo comics, the look is friendly and jovial. The text, also, is early-reader friendly, with very short sentences and frequent breaks, both for three major sections and chapter breaks within these sections.
What makes the book bop along, though, is our hero, Marty. He’s interested and smart, but not a prodigy. He’s a normal kid with curiosity, a love of language, and eyes firmly on the world around him. The cases he solves are nothing crazy or life-threatening, just stuff in a kid’s world: a lost diary, and missing toys and art supplies. And, charmingly, he makes mistakes (“Give me a break. I made a mistake.”)
This is just the right mix of tension, humor, and easy reading that will entice young minds to follow along. Who can resist a kid whose motto is, “Give me the facts so I can follow the tracks.”
Lead on, young sir.
What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….