Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity

by Mac Barnett
New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009
Steve Brixton loves the Bailey Brothers mysteries and uses their Detective Handbook to imagine himself a sleuth, but when he accidentally flashes his official Bailey Brothers Detective License (12 boxtops + $1.95 s&h to an address in Kentucky) instead of his library card to Ms. Bundt at the Ocean Park Public Library all *#&%#* breaks loose. Suddenly a commando unit of librarians is after him, thinking he is an agent of the mysterious Mister E. who is after An Illustrated History of American Quilting (checked out by Steve for a report) which is supposed to contain clues to the location of the historic secret message Maguffin Quilt. Steve's subsequent adventures include two kidnappings, a high-speed bookmobile chase, several leaps from second story windows, and a narrow escape from a sinking ship. Barnett pokes clever fun at The DaVinci Code and its sequels, at the Hardy Boys, and at movies like National Treasure, so if you are an adult (especially one who grew up in the fifties) this book is a ball of laughs, but the kids are going to like it too for the action, adventure, the funny bits, and the fact that in the end, Steve gets the horselaugh on every grownup in the story.

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