Calendar Mysteries Series

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Calendar Mysteries Series Book Poster Image
First-graders solve suspenseful mysteries month by month.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

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.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.

Language

What 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.

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What's the story?

In the CALENDAR MYSTERIES, first-graders Lucy, Nate, and twins Bradley and Brian face spooky, strange situations in their town of Green Lawn (the same place as the series featuring their older siblings, A to Z Mysteries). With a mystery set in each month of the year, the kids have to figure out if there really are aliens in the snow, what happened to all the items suddenly missing when school is out for summer, why the kids who enter a Halloween haunted house keep disappearing, and more. The kids' parents, siblings and friends try to help out, and Officer Fallon of the town's police department is always on hand -- unless, of course, he's part of the mystery. ...

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the careful, logical approach the kids in the Calendar Mysteries take to things they don't understand. How does being organized and thoughtful help them figure out what steps to take next?

  • The kids sometimes ask an adult for help. How do you decide when you need to ask for help and when you should keep trying on your own?

  • What are some of your other favorite mystery books?

Book details

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