Review of To Catch a Thief

To Catch a Thief To Catch a Thief
by Martha Brockenbrough
Intermediate    Scholastic    256 pp.
4/23    9781338818581    $17.99
e-book ed.  9781338818598    $17.99

Sixth grader Amelia MacGuffin is a worrier. As the eldest of five siblings, she worries about everything from changing the part in her hair to the MacGuffin family’s tight finances. So when the mythically lucky wooden staff that is the centerpiece of the annual Dragonfly Day Festival goes missing from Urchin Beach’s town square, Amelia decides to channel her worry into finding the thief. Her investigation is hampered by the unexpected arrival of a lost dog in her backyard, a flood that threatens both the festival and the delicate ecosystem that supports the native dragonflies, and the sheer number of possible suspects. With the help of a local mystery author, a trusted librarian, and her own common sense, Amelia surprises herself by solving the crime. But bringing the (beloved and well-known) criminal to justice will prove to be a much harder task. This charming small-town mystery romp will appeal to a wide range of junior detectives, especially those who are also invested in issues of climate change and environmental preservation. Amelia’s close-knit beach community of family, friends, and neighbors forms a relatable cast of secondary characters who provide both support and comic relief. Fans of Yan Glaser’s resourceful Vanderbeeker clan and Pennypacker’s problem-solving protagonists will be delighted that the ending suggests this is just the first of Amelia’s adventures.

Pubissue-From the May/June 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Jennifer Hubert Swan

Jennifer Hubert Swan is the library department chair and upper school librarian at the Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY. She is also an adjunct assistant professor at Pratt Institute School of Information, where she teaches youth literature and library programming. She blogs at Reading Rants.

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