on Feb. 26, 2012 :
This was a wonderful story. I enjoyed it from the start
till the end. I believe any young person as well as an
adult would like this read!
(reviewed 68 days after purchase)
on Feb. 14, 2012 :
I was very surprised by the way I was hooked into this book. This is a children's book, but could easily (as it did with me) grab the attention and enjoyment of an adult. From the beginning the reader is left wondering what the opening scene has to do with most of the rest of the book, being that the opening scene is the outcome of what comes after it in the book with the exception of the final chapters or two. After a few chapters though, I forgot my question about what the opening scene was there for and read it like it didn't exist. With this said, I feel there isn't a need for it to have been there, but it does add a little to this being a story told by a child character. The recollection factor was well used.
I also enjoyed the addition of science into the book. When writing a children's book the amount of "learning" thrown in can either get more kids interesting in reading it or push others away depending on how it was written into the story. I think these elements were written perfectly into the story. Even at my age, while reading this I didn't realize that I was reading about science or learning till I got halfway through those parts. It wasn't terribly hard to follow either, which is always good for children.
I did feel though, that the "Yellow Jackets" were either unnecessary characters or just needed more involvement. This can be said about the strange man with the blue truck. At the end, his place in the story is explained. But in both cases I can't say for sure whether or not the story benefited from their involvement. Also if there was more development and concern shown from the other characters toward the "villains," I think this book could easily have been geared more towards an adult audience looking for a crime/suspense novel.
One last minor point to make. There were, if I remember my count correctly, about four sentences/paragraphs in the book that need some attention. The entire book was written in the first person from Debbie's point of view. In these few areas though, the author has slipped and written in the third person (i.e. "they" instead of "we.") This doesn't take away from my enjoyment of the book though, but I feel it should be mentioned to help out the author for the future. Plus no body, especially me, is perfect grammatically.
I do hope that Zeichner decides to write another Jinson Twins book. I would enjoy to read more of their adventures.
(reviewed 48 days after purchase)
on Jan. 15, 2012 :
The Jinson Twins, Science Detectives, and The Mystery of Echo Lake by Steven Zeichner.
SO Funny, the air quotes and 'resource recovery and recycling center' and "A" and RA.
Just like a mystery for pre teens, Nancy Drew type mystery or Hardy Boys. Has all the makings of a mystery: map and treasure and mysterious things.
Boys start out trying to find a job for the summer, they are 12 year old twin boys.
One looks like a girl his hair is SO long. They do find a job organizing and old woman's
basement into different categories. Appears to be things from her dead husbands ship.
Some will be kept, some mailed and some sold.
There was even a box of things that Mrs. Gray gave to them to bring home. One such thing was a scroll with a map drawn on it and some riddles to figure out. It stated that's where
the treasure was. They go to Mr. Benjamin so he can help them with the map and what it could mean. He's the owner of the junkyard.
Different kids and a man are after them but they don't know why.
Can see how the teaching aids would help kids learn about science: charts, spreadsheets, graphs, etc.
They all head back to Mrs. Gray's house and ask if she can maybe help them solve the mystery.
She can in a way and that's how they start this book out, on their way to Echo Lake to find the treasure.
The yellow jackets almost get them at the lake, and then the other man enters Mrs. Gray house with his gun
to get the real treasure.
Love the science things at the end.
(reviewed 12 days after purchase)
on Aug. 20, 2011 :
This was a fun book to read! I read it to my children (ages 8 and 10), and they really enjoyed it too! It's so nice to have a fiction book that incorporates some learning - my kids will probably always remember that the sound travels faster when it's warmer! It's also a nice mystery book for children - not too scary, but there's enough tension to make you want to keep reading!
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)