Parents' Guide to

The Gold Dust Letters

By Norah Caroline Piehl, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Mystery and fantasy combine effectively.

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This first book in the pretentiously titled series Investigators of the Unknown explores magic in everyday life; the irony, though, is that there's very little magic to be found. Almost all the magic Angela witnesses has a prosaic explanation. But Angela's story might inspire others to imagine magic in their own lives.

Regardless of the magic quotient, this is an effective portrayal of friendship and family life. Although there's no happy ending to Angela's family problems, the solutions are realistic. The simple character portrayals, as well as the use of concrete language and easygoing humor, make this a good choice for kids ready to graduate from early readers. The dialogue is sometimes banal ("There's always more inside no matter how much you look and look and can't see how there could be"), but Janet Taylor Lisle has a feel for middle-graders' humor, friendships, and fantasies.

Book Details

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