The Year My Parents Ruined My Life) cooks up a lightweight but merry mystery. The chipper narrator, Alex Parakeet, lives on Chickadee Court, famous in Al"/>

WHO IS STEALING THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS?

Martha Freeman, Author . Holiday $16.95 (148p) ISBN 978-0-8234-1788-9

Freeman (The Year My Parents Ruined My Life) cooks up a lightweight but merry mystery. The chipper narrator, Alex Parakeet, lives on Chickadee Court, famous in Alex's small college town for its 12 houses that annually display items from the famous Christmas carol ("My family is seven swans a-swimming," he explains). But this year there is fowl play: the birds on neighbors' yards—partridge, goose, calling bird, etc.—disappear and then reappear one by one. Alex and his spunky best friend Yasmeen set out to crack the case while Alex's police detective mother is busy investigating a theft at a toy store. Although readers will catch on quickly that the two crimes are connected, Freeman pulls out a clever and unexpected solution. Breezy dialogue, some madcap moments and the boy's endearing rapport with his parents add up to a festive read. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/22/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
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