Eileen Heyes, a North Carolina author and writing instructor, sent me these two companion books. Based on her father's stories about his life in the movies during the depression, these books will appeal to readers in grades 4-7. Their fast pace and easy readability make them great choices for reluctant readers.
REVIEW OF ACTING INNOCENT
Billy O' Dwyer and Virginia Grady are eleven-year-old actors. For them, home is a movie studio and their days are filled with make-up, costumes, and re-takes--rather than with school. From the beginning the reader sees two kids who not only know how to act for the camera, but know how to put on an act for adults.
They are also super sleuths. When a movie actress is found dead and Billy's friend and mentor, Roscoe Muldoon, is declared to be the killer, Billy and Virginia decide to prove Roscoe's innocence. In a light and breezy style that moves the story along, the pair find clues, pursue red herrings, and are instrumental in finding the real murderer.
REVIEW OF TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW
The partners are at it again. This time, they discover a skeleton while looking through an abandoned house for props for a skit. The mystery is not a whodunit like in Acting Innocent, but rather who is the rightful heir to the house and the treasure that the deceased owner (John Wilkinson) squirreled away?
The duo are divided. Virginia becomes convinced that Eddie Talbott who worked for Mr. Wilkinson because his rich, son, J.J, deserted him, should get the property. Billy--who keeps wanting the investigation to be over and gets dragged in deeper by Virginia's love for sleuthing--feels sorry for J.J. who has been estranged from his father for several years.
On top of that, they're not even sure what the treasure--which Mr. Wilkinson wrote about in a poem--really is. The story includes fake wills, a dangerous boat chase, and of course, discovering the treasure.
The two young thespians provide enough drama to make this a page turner that both boys and girls will enjoy.
I am giving away both of these titles through Talking Story, the quarterly newsletter which Joyce Hostetter and I co-publish for educators and media specialists. Our winter issue is on Dormant Readers (also known as reluctant readers) and will come out next week. (Click here if you wish to subscribe). Leave me a comment here and I'll enter your name once. Leave a comment through the newsletter and I'll enter your name a second time. A winner will be drawn on January 21.