A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Wig in the Window is a fun addition to the middle-school-spy-adventure genre, featuring admirable, smart seventh graders Sophie and her friends Grace and Trista, who take action when they suspect someone is up to no good. There's very little violence, though in one scene, a large man tackles a girl, but she's not seriously injured. In another, the girls are threatened with a gun. And in one disturbing incident, a girl is repeatedly dunked in the ocean by an adult before the adult gets knocked unconscious. There's a reference to a high-school swim team that was electrocuted, resulting in three deaths. The book's climax is a bit scary, with the girls in peril, but it's nothing tweens can't handle. Bodily function humor will keep younger readers laughing. There's some verbal bullying without consequences, perhaps because it doesn't seem to bother the bully's target.
What's the story?
Middle-schooler Sophie and best friend Grace love playing spy games. One night as they're out on patrol they think they witness a murder in silhouette through a neighbor's window. It turns out to be something quite different, but once their suspicions are raised about the neighbor, who is the middle-school counselor, Sophie and Grace won't back down until they get to the bottom of things. But in order to do that they're going to have to figure out whom they can trust -- no easy task when people aren't quite who they seem to be -- and whether they can trust themselves.
Is it any good?
Deftly written, THE WIG IN THE WINDOW is a delightful new addition to the genre of middle-school spy caper. It's funny, Sophie is a likeable and realistic heroine, and the plot will keep kids in suspense. Adults may recognize the similarity to Alfred Hitchcock's great Rear Window, neatly re-imagined for 8-to-12-year-olds.
Impressive first-time author Kristen Kittscher never talks down to kids, yet stays on target for the age group. She keeps the reader guessing without losing the story's thread and provides real page-turner excitement without being too scary or violent.
Talk to your kids about ...
Familes can talk about the popularity of spy and detective stories, going all the way back to Sherlock Holmes. What makes them so appealing? Do you think people in the olden days liked them for the same reasons we do today?
Sophie learns it's not a good idea to jump to conclusions. But if her suspicions trun out to be right, what's so bad about jumping to conclusions?
Would someone in your school get away with name calling the way Trent does? Do you think his French class nickname bothers Sophie?
- Author: Kristen Kittscher
- Genre: Mystery
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and sisters, Friendship, Great girl role models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
- Publication date: June 18, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 351
- 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.