cover image Sly the Sleuth and the Sports Mysteries

Sly the Sleuth and the Sports Mysteries

Donna Jo Napoli, Robert Furrow. Dial Books, $16.99 (126pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-2994-0

These mother-and-son collaborators' spry follow-up to Sly the Sleuth and the Pet Mysteries may be rather short on sports action and suspense, but its chipper narrator and her entourage will likely draw kids into this trio of tales. In the first and strongest of the three, Sly (short for Sylvia) comes to the aid of her pal Jack, who is hoping to hone his kicking skills for his final soccer game. But a flock of obstinate birds overtake the field so he can't practice-until Sly discovers that the near-sighted school custodian may inadvertently be at the root of the problem. The second, more meandering case finds Sly attempting to uncover why her best friend Melody's ballet slippers and then swim fins disappear from Melody's cubby, in which a pair of soccer cleats just as mysteriously appears (the previous story provides the key clue to the culprit). The final story stretches the sports concept: Sly's endearing four-year-old neighbor's curious antics turn out to be futile attempts to make himself tall enough to play basketball-a denouement that most youngsters will see coming. Maione's spirited art and the characters' engaging repartee join forces to convey the kids' personalities. Reluctant readers will appreciate the novel's punchy dialogue, concise chapters and relatively large type size. This may well whet kids' appetites for the soon-to-be served up Sly the Sleuth and the Food Mysteries. Ages 7-up.