Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew: Secret Sand Sleuths by Sarah Kinney, Stan Goldberg

This is the second book in Papercutz' adaptations of Carolyn Keene's Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew. For those not familiar with it, this is a spin-off of the Nancy Drew series intended for younger readers and featuring a third grade Nancy Drew and friends.

In this story, Nancy and her friends are on a field trip to the museum. They are disappointed to hear that the special sand mandala isn't available to see and then they overhear the janitor being fired for messing it up. Nancy is sure it wasn't her fault and she and her friends decide to find out what really happened. With the help of the artist, the Venerable Gelek, they discover the truth and learn some new things about Buddhism and sand art.

This is one of those series that, as an adult reader, I have to stop every couple sentences to complain to the squirrels at my window about the flaws but that I purchase for the library because the kids love them. I've never been a fan of any of the Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys spin-offs, especially the younger ones, but I still get kids asking for Clue Crew on occasion. Our copies were random selections from the series and not checking out much, so I decided to clear them off the series shelf and purchase this graphic adaptation instead.

There are some grammatical mistakes, most notably in the placement of commas, and the writing overall is a bit clunky. The art has a strong cartoon style and the perspective is a bit wonky in places, especially in the opening panels where from the text and graphics it sounds/looks like Nancy and her friends are much older than all the other kids in their class.

Ultimately though, those things don't really matter. Because the book gives kids exactly what they want - a funny mystery with familiar characters, a few brief moments of suspense, and cute pictures.

Verdict: Despite the literary flaws, kids will grab these off the shelf, as seen in my already more than decent circulation statistics for the first volume. I'd put these into the category of my tub books (Disney Princess, Barbie, etc.) books that will never win any awards, but kids will enjoy reading them and they'll up my circulation. Also, Papercutz has very affordable hardcovers and I suggest purchasing them in that format.

ISBN: 9781597073769; Published March 2013 by Papercutz; Review copy provided by publisher; Series purchased for the library.

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