Friday, July 15, 2016

Most Valuable Players: The Gold Medal Mess by David A. Kelly, illustrated by Scott Brundage

Kelly, author of the Ballpark Mysteries series, is back with another great sports-themed beginning chapter book series.

Five friends are getting ready for their elementary school's olympics. There's archery, races, gymnastics, and more. But there's also someone who doesn't want the olympics to continue. Can the five friends solve the mystery of who is sabotaging their games before someone gets hurt?

Kelly does a great job at mixing sports and mystery together. There's a combination of information on the sports; how the archery works, descriptions of races and gymnastics, and coverage of other games as well. There's also plenty of hunting for clues with taking fingerprints, examining handwriting, and making deductions.

The author and illustrator together have included a good mix of diverse characters. The five friends include two girls, both of whom enjoy athletics, two African-American kids, and at least one boy with darker skin and another who might be Asian-American. Their race isn't clearly defined, but they are clearly depicted with darker skin and hair. I also appreciated that the kids on the cover included those with darker skin and there's equal time given to the different characters in the book, rather than relegating some to sidekicks.

Verdict: Mystery and sports fans will be delighted with this new series which is sure to fly off your shelves. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9780553513196; Published May 2016 by Random House; Purchased for the library

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