Capital Mysteries Series

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Capital Mysteries Series Book Poster Image
White House kids solve mysteries, have fun around D.C.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Lots of history, in addition to demonstrating logic, organization, and planning. The kids get life lessons about not jumping to conclusions and the importance of keeping a positive attitude.

Positive Messages

Everyone -- kids, government officials, bystanders -- is motivated by the simple idea of trying to do the right thing. The kids are encouraged to be resourceful and to use their brains, and to be kind to people along the way.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The adults around KC and Marshall are all kind and supportive and make time for them (which is surprising, since one of the adults is the president of the United States). The adults model great behaviors: they listen, care about what people are saying, and apologize when they make a mistake.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ron Roy’s Capital Mysteries series, set at the White House, monuments, and other famous places in Washington, D.C., is full of fun sleuthing for readers who enjoy chapter books. The stories are detailed, with enough clues to keep readers engaged but not so many that the mysteries are easy to solve halfway through a book. KC, the president's stepdaughter, and her best friend, Marshall, live fairly normal lives even though they walk in and out of the Oval Office -- something most kids (and adults) can't imagine. The way the two kids travel by taxi and train and wander unsupervised through D.C. and beyond is unrealistic, but it makes for a better story than the kids trying to solve mysteries while surrounded by Secret Service agents.

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What's the story?

In the CAPITAL MYSTERIES series, KC and her best friend, Marshall, have a front-row seat to the strange things that happen around the White House. When KC's mom, Lois, marries the president of the United States, KC puts her sleuthing skills to good use in her new home. From figuring out who was spying on them to get wedding details, to why fireworks were shot near the president and what the story is on a broken thumb on the Lincoln Memorial, the two kids find and analyze clues, solving mysteries and navigating the nation's capital.

Is it any good?

In this excellent series for young mystery buffs, Ron Roy keeps the pacing fast and the clues cryptic so readers have to earn the solution. The Capital Mysteries are light and funny; there’s no hint of dirty politics or real danger to the head of state here. These books are fun for kids, set in a famous place they’ve read and studied about but now see from an entirely different perspective: their peers. KC and Marshall ask questions, observe situations, and come up with possible answers, and for young readers, it seems completely realistic -- the hallmark of a great book.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how KC and Marshall solve the Capital Mysteries. When the kids talked through each clue, did you solve the mystery before they did, or were you surprised at the end?

  • What mysteries have you encountered in the past week? Were you able to solve them, and did you ask for help?

  • What are your favorite mystery books?

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