A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Randi Rhodes Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit, by Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer, has several elements of danger wherein adults attempt to harm children. There's also reference to a possible murder. Though there's no graphic violence, parents may want to keep an eye out for any anxiety this may cause in younger, more sensitive readers. Also note that Randi is grieving the death of her mother, and she defends -- and befriends -- a kid who's bullied because he has partial hearing loss.
What's the story?
Randi Rhodes is her New York neighborhood's ace secret detective. She defends the helpless and bring criminals to justice until her father moves her to the family's vacation home down South. Still reeling from her mother's death, Randi is convinced she'll die of boredom in the small town -- that is, until new friends and a couple of mysteries land in her lap. A missing time capsule, a cat, and town treasure have Randi and her new friends vowing to solve the mystery and save the town from ruin.
Is it any good?
RANDI RHODES NINJA DETECTIVE: THE CASE OF THE TIME-CAPSULE BANDIT is an excellent book full of mystery, fun, and cool hands-on activities. In this, the first book in the Randi Rhodes Ninja Detective series, author Octavia Spencer sets the stage for interactive fun. After each chapter, readers are asked to practice the detective methods and use the tools shown within the story with easy-to-follow instructions and household ingredients.
It's not just the activities that hook readers. Spencer has created rich characters, snappy dialogue, and a fantastic mystery that will keep readers guessing until the very end. Randi Rhodes Ninja Detective has action, puzzles, and a strong female lead yet doesn't fall into the girl-power trap that celebrates gender over accomplishments.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Randi Rhodes has trouble expressing her feelings over the death of her mother and spends much of the book very angry. How could Randi have shared her feelings with her father?
Randi uses all kinds of detective methods throughout the book. How do the tools Randi uses differ from those seen on television shows that involve mysteries? Do TV shows set an unrealistic idea of what it takes to solve crimes?
Randi finds her first friend in town after defending him from bullies. How can you help kids you see being bullied? Do you have trusted adults who can help you resolve bullying problems?
- Author: Octavia Spencer
- Genre: Mystery
- Topics: Adventures, Cats, dogs, and mice, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster
- Publication date: October 15, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 224
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.