Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of The Missing Goop
Published by: Candlewick
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Contributors: Illustrated by Kate Hindley
When the third-graders of Room 11 learn that they all must take part in a musicale, Smashie can’t wait to sing something heartfelt and loud. But the others are not so eager.
Luckily, Charlene’s mom has agreed to donate her special gel that lengthens and sculpts hair into shapes (from a musical note to a roller skate), and soon, with the help of some retro sixties go-go dancing, all the kids are raring to go. That is, until their jars of goop go missing! Who would steal their beloved Herr Goop, and why? Time for Smashie and her best friend, Dontel, to get out their Investigation Notebooks! Discussions of motives and perps, hasty mis-accusations and apology brownies, a math lesson used to crack a mysterious code, and more than a few choice red herrings build up to a truly hilarious madcap finale. Starring a quirky and relatable heroine, a level-headed sidekick, and an appealing group of good kids, this entertaining and lighthearted mystery may well have readers donning their own Investigator Suits.
“Third-grade sleuths Smashie McPerter and Dontel Marquise are back.Having found classroom pet Patches in Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of Room 11 (2015), the best friends step up again when a classmate’s delicious-smelling “lengthening and molding” hair goop goes missing, threatening the success of the Third-Grade Hair Extravaganza and Musicale. Who could be taking the few precious jars of Herr Goop? Smashie, a white girl who tends to get carried away, and Dontel, a black boy who tends not to, consider motive and opportunity and work to solve the mystery even as the third-graders practice and they themselves choreograph go-go dances to be staged between each act. Griffin concocts a baroque plot involving a secret code credibly based on third-grade math and tells it with SAT-level vocabulary. She contextualizes that vocabulary carefully, sequencing sentences to prepare readers for it. Kids who understand how hard it is for Smashie and Dontel “to join a line of children who were all mad at them” will see how the “frostiness” might be “palpable.” Even if Smashie and her pals don’t talk like 8-year-olds, though, they behave like them, getting carried away with endearing earnestness. Griffin also subtly attacks stereotypes with her multiethnic group of hugely likable kids. Dontel’s dad is a dentist, and a Latina student’s mom is a patent attorney—a fact that also figures into the plot. Readers will be hoping for an equally savvy Book 3. (Mystery. 7-10)”
“The story is paced well, and the plot is strong enough to intrigue a variety of readers…the series offers positive lessons and activities that teachers and librarians can incorporate in the classroom. The use of mathematical codes and investigative lingo and the slight mystery will make this a good book for a beginning-of-the-year read-aloud in a third or fourth grade classroom.”
—School Library Journal
“Classroom dynamics and a diverse cast add a realistic element to this fast-paced tale of go-go dancing, rapid bilingual alphabetization, and general mayhem.”
Also in this series: