Reviews for Nina, the Pinta, and the Vanishing Treasure


Booklist Reviews 2008 May #1
Alec, Santopolo's young sleuth talks like a fourth-grader, acts like a fourth-grader, and, mostly, thinks like one, too. Sometimes he wonders why Tater Tots and pizza always pop up together on the school cafeteria menu. Or why he gets that "marshmallowy" feeling in his stomach when he has done something wrong and has to tell his dad. Or whether clever, daring classmate Gina Rossi will make a good sleuthing partner when they both grow up. In this adventure, gold coins, a broken drinking glass, a plastic telescope, and a newspaper photo are the clues the kids use to solve two mysterious disappearances, one of which seems to stump even Mr. Flint, the cop.  Contrived? Sure. But most mysteries for this age group are; what sets this apart is its lively characters, a thoughtfully derived sprinkling of clues for the kids to pursue, and the opportunity for readers to have as much fun solving the mystery (and decoding the coded messages) as Alec and Gina. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring
Alec's class is studying Christopher Columbus. An exhibit at the local museum would help, but it, and Alec's art teacher, have gone missing. Following in his police officer father's footsteps, Alec and his partner Gina are on the case. Smartly combining a crime drama with some American history, this book succeeds in being both entertaining and informative. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2008 June #1
A mystery at the museum is the perfect case for an aspiring fourth-grade detective. Early one morning before school, Alec gets to go with his father, Officer Flint, to the American History Museum, where somebody has made off with the entire cache of gold coins in the Christopher Columbus exhibit. Curator Dr. Glumsfeld gives Alec an uneasy feeling, but this doesn't prevent him from trying to crack the case. His neighbor, Emily Berg, has no interest in detection, but the new girl at school, Gina Rossi, shares Alec's passion for puzzles, and becomes his sidekick. The pair even begins passing coded messages, a puzzle-solving bonus for the reader (with solutions at the back of the book). Santopolo's prose crackles, and she manages to weave in a fair degree of historical information on Columbus as she spins her yarn (and supplements it with a lengthy Author's Note). The first in what promises to be a solid middle-grade series in the tradition of Encyclopedia Brown. (Fiction. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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