Reviews for Bernie Magruder and the Bats in the Belfry


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 January 2003
Gr. 4-7. Bernie Magruder, star of the Besseldorf mystery series, is back, this time on the trail of the dangerous Aztec bat that is terrorizing the town of Middleburg. Well, at least someone has put up signs that say there's a new bat in town whose bite is fatal. It doesn't seem likely that the presence of the bat could be related to another new scourge in Middleburg--the church bells that repeat the same hymn over and over--but when the bells and bats both converge in the belfry, Bernie, along with his friends, is on the case. This has the same off-the-wall humor the series is noted for, so fans will welcome the new adventure; readers unfamiliar with previous books will be drawn in as well. ((Reviewed January 1 & 15, 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2003 Fall
A community member bequeaths a set of bells to the local church, with instructions that her favorite hymn must be played incessantly. Soon after, dangerous ""Indiana Aztec"" bats appear to be settling in the church's belfry. Bernie, whose eccentric family runs the Bessledorf Hotel, decides to investigate whether these events are related to the hotel's mysterious new boarder. The fast-paced story provides equal measures of humor and suspense. Copyright 2003 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 2002 December #2
The game's afoot once again around the Bessledorf Hotel, whose quirky residents are joined by a secretive stranger, while anonymous warnings of poisonous bats, along with new church bells that play the same melody every 15 minutes, send all Middleburg into a tizzy. It seems that wealthy Mrs. Scuttlefoot left several valuable gifts to the church, and the rest of her fortune to surviving relatives, on the condition that her bells chime out "Abide with Me" until deaf old Mr. Scuttlefoot passes over. As time goes on, it begins to look more and more likely that he might get a helping hand from some maddened Middleburger. The general stress level rises even further when some very oddly behaved bats, along with a weird green glow, appear around the offending steeple. What's going on? Leave it to young sherlock, Bernie, along with sidekicks Weasel and Georgene, to find out. With customary virtuosity, Naylor strews the tale with oddball characters, slapstick mishaps, and artful clues. In the end, bats and glow turn out to be artificial, a stratagem employed by an estranged Scuttlefoot son to keep his inheritance. As in previous episodes, however, things don't turn out quite as planned. Another winner from this versatile veteran, replete with ingenious twists and capped by a wild Halloween night climax. (Fiction. 10-12) Copyright Kirkus 2002 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2003 February # 3
A rare breed of bats invades Middleburg, Ind. (or have they?), that horrible hymn still rings from the belfry (but why?), and Bernie and his friends are determined to figure out why the town's gone batty in Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Bernie Magruder & the Bats in the Belfry, a follow-up to Bernie Magruder & the Case of the Big Stink. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2003 April
Gr 4-6-Devotees of Bernie Magruder and his antics at the Bessledorf Hotel will find mystery and adventure in this humorous and rollicking installment. The author masterfully weaves a story line about church bells that ring out parts of a hymn every quarter hour as a gift from the deceased richest woman in Middleburg to her husband, driving residents crazy and into camps for and against; the appearance in the belfry of Indiana Aztec bats with a green glow; and a strange new hotel guest. The sixth grader and his friends find the surprising and satisfying solution to the mystery of the bats as Halloween approaches, and long before Officer Feeney and the other adults do. Naylor's characters are consistently well done, with father talking in clichés that express wisdom and humor, and she provides an old-time sense of community that is charming in its innocence. For readers who are not already Naylor fans, this welcome addition may be the book that leads them further into her work.-JoAnn Jonas, Chula Vista Public Library, San Diego, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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