Pinky Bloom and the Case of the Magical Menorah

Kar-Ben. (Pinky Bloom). Oct. 2021. 80p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781541576254.
Gr 1-4–This early chapter book mystery is light on logic, despite its best attempts. It’s Hanukkah, and Pinky Bloom, kid detective, is about to solve her third case. Her neighbor, Mrs. Glick, stops by to leave her “magical menorah” for safe-keeping. Shortly after, the lights flicker and the candles on the menorah mysteriously go out simultaneously. The next day, an ancient Israeli coin Mrs. Glick donated to the temple goes missing. After a series of convenient events, Pinky, her brother, and a neighbor visit the super’s office and discover counterfeit coin-making supplies. Shortly thereafter, Pinky reveals that the super and Mrs. Glick’s son worked together to counterfeit and steal the coin. The story is accessible for early chapter book readers. Pinky, her brother, and Miss Olga are entertaining characters, and the mystery moves along at a decent clip. The cartoonish illustrations scattered throughout are appealing and engaging. It is, however, completely implausible and too easily solved. It is overly convenient and unlikely that Pinky’s family would have the menorah where the coin is hidden, and that the criminal would be their super. This is a serious crime for a kid to be solving, and the lack of police involvement is unlikely.
VERDICT This light mystery is accessible to kids new to chapter books, and will entertain the undiscerning, but it doesn’t stand up to close scrutiny. Only for libraries in desperate need of Hanukkah chapter books. All others can pass.


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