During a weekend trip to the library to work on a report on Early American Needlework, Steve Brixton, detective story enthusiast, is swiftly mistaken for a real detective by secret-agent librarians. Now in only a day and a half, Steve is wanted by the librarians, police and the thugs, and he has to clear his name and turn in an 8-page report by Monday.
First off, I love that the librarians are karate-trained secret agents working for the government. It makes my profession seem so much cooler. Second, Mac Barnett is a very gifted author. Steve is an incredibly likable & relatable character right from the start. His infatuation with the Bailey Brother’s Detective Agency definitely helps him get into and out of trouble during this weekend of chaos and confusion. In the beginning, the sudden change in pace from hum-drum to adventure was a bit jarring. I half expected it to a dream Steve had after falling asleep having read the most boring book in the world. I went along with Steve thinking “this can’t be happening, he’s just a kid not a detective.”
Arte Johnson does an excellent job of reading the book. His comic timing is perfectly on-key and I found myself laughing out loud (literal LOL) in the car throughout the entire book. Steve is bumbling, but clever. He recruits his best friend Dana to help solve the mystery, although they both end up kidnapped on a boat out to sea. This is book is perfect for a family road-trip. Adults will appreciate the humor, the kids will relate to Steve and love the adventure aspect of the story. The story is full of twists and it keeps you guessing as to who the evil mastermind Mr. E really is. It wraps up nicely, but still leaves room for future books to follow.