A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Not a lot of academic content, but logic and critical thinking are in full force here. The kids make a step-by-step plan, lay out their evidence, and think about possible consequences before taking any action. It's pretty much every parent's dream scenario for how their kids will deal with unfamiliar situations.
There's plenty of teasing among the kids, but it's all good-natured and no one's feelings get hurt. The kids work together, always trying to keep each other safe, calm one another's fears, and do the right thing.
Positive Role Models
Any series that has a police officer come to a house because kids think there are aliens in the attic is bound to show nothing but supportive, kind adults. The town is full of friends of all ages who want to help -- and have fun with -- the kids.
Violence & Scariness
Nothing truly scary, but the tension holds through most of each book as the kids try to solve a mystery, and the ghosts, aliens, or uncertainty could worry a more sensitive young reader. But there's also tons of joking and lighthearted moments here, so the fright factor never gets too high.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ron Roy's Calendar Mysteries Series is a great introduction to the format and suspense of mysteries. Featuring the younger siblings of Roy's A to Z Mysteries, this series is gentle enough not to induce nightmares in -- but suspenseful enough to captivate -- young readers. These four first-graders use logic to solve the mysteries, looking for evidence and motives and alternate explanations. The parents and other adults in these books care about the kids and treat their concerns seriously, and there's a nice dose of silly shenanigans in each book to balance out the spooky.
Is It Any Good?
These are fun, suspenseful, simple mysteries for kids new to chapter books. The books are a little meandering for adults reading aloud, but young readers will enjoy the details, slow pace, and jokes throughout each mystery. Each month of the Calendar Mysteries does a nice job of keeping the suspense and not giving too many hints, and balances that with a good amount of joking between the kids. Adults know it's unrealistic that an entire town would elaborately prank four first-graders, but it's sweet to perpetuate the idea that town is an extension of family for young readers.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.