Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of Room 11
N. Griffin (J Mystery)
The third-grade class in Room 11 at Rebecca Lee Crumpler Elementary School was NOT having a good day. Between a vain, mean substitute teacher, a missing class hamster, and a nasty, sticky prank it was enough to make Principal Armstrong SIMPLY ILL. I mean, ILL IN BED WITH AN IV DRIP kind of ill! No. This was NOT how the students of Room 11 behaved. On top of that, when Smashie’s public dislike for Patches the hamster makes her the prime suspect in his disappearance (just because she thinks hamsters are just mice with chicken feet), it’s up to her and her best friend Dontel to solve the case or else Room 11 may never be the same again.
This is a great book that not only teaches critical thinking and deductive reasoning skills, it also illustrates the importance of giving someone the benefit of the doubt, how it’s possible to do something wrong but for the right reason, and how difficult it is to earn trust while it’s very easy to lose it. Lots of wonderful lessons with two central characters who balance each other nicely. While Smashie is reactive, impulsive, and emotional, Dontel is logical, thoughtful, and realistic. And while it causes some angst on Smashie’s part when Dontel doesn’t agree with her, he proves to her that disagreeing doesn’t mean disloyalty because it takes a real friend to point out your mistakes and a better friend to admit when it’s true.
Griffin gives readers a cute and age-appropriate story that really picks up steam near the end. The only problem I had was with a few of the references: …frog-marching the hapless Mr. Carper downtown, …Smashie beat a loud tattoo on its door, …he schooled his features, and (this one is a doozy) I was throwing the poor thing a bone said by a male teacher to a female teacher in an attempt to excuse his failed flattery attempts. Not to mention Dontel telling Smashie to slap my hand with your hand rather than just saying, “High five!” or “Gimme five!” and I was wondering if these references would be lost on Griffin’s audience. Still, this is a fun and entertaining read that shows if you’re strong and stand up for what you know is right, everything will work out in the end…even if you still think hamsters are just mice with chicken feet.
* Book cover image attributed to: www.abebooks.com
We’re now posting videos of some of our book reviews! Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thedustyjacket or on Instagram @tdjreviews and join in on the fun!