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Selfie Sweepstakes Reviews: Kell and the Detectives

[As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.]

KelldetectivesKell and the Detectives; written by Darcy Pattison; illustrated by Rich Davis. Mims House, 2015. 118pp. Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-62944-028-6. $ 21.99; Paper ed. ISBN 978-1-62944-029-3 $10.99.

Introduced in Kell, the Alien, Kell and his parents are aliens living sub rosa on Earth and making their living as party planners. In this fourth book in the Aliens, Inc. series, Kell is faced with a number of mysteries–too many in fact, for any one of them to generate much suspense, and in their totality creating a rather hectic atmosphere. There’s the school principal sniffing out the possibility of Aliens Among Us; the teachers have set the kids on an art-identification project; the piñata at Kell’s friend Aja’s birthday party contains clues to the candy rather than candy itself. Oh, and Kell’s mother is having a baby, if not in the usual way. All is (too-) easily resolved, but the writing is suitably light, and occasional black-and-white decorations keep the page design invitingly open without making the book look too young for the early-chapter-book audience.  R.S.


[This review may be distributed freely and excerpted fairly; credit to “Read Roger, The Horn Book Inc.,”]

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Dear Mr. Sutton: Thank you for this series of reviews. Do you think you might do this again? My books were not ready in time for this deadline but I would love the opportunity to submit if you offer this to self-published authors again. Thank you,

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