Hahn, Mary Downing. Closed for the Season.
Clarion see Houghton Mifflin 2009 182p 16.00 978-0-547-08451-0 elm/ms
Quirky neighbor Arthur befriends the new boy on the block and reveals to him that a murder took place in his new house. The unusual pair solves the mystery and becomes heroes of their school. Mary Downing Hahn knows how to tell a good mystery that will have children choosing her books! The eerie Magic Forest is an abandoned children's paradise, complete with children's favorite childhood characters like Old King Cole and Humpty-Dumpty. Now covered in eerie kudzu vines, the park houses a dark secret. Who stole the park's ticket sale money, and how did Myrtle Donaldson, the ticket lady, meet her demise? Could she really have stolen thousands of dollars and gone to her grave with the secret of where she stashed it? When Logan's family moves into the house where she was murdered, next-door neighbor and sleuth, Arthur, steps in. With more than typical childhood curiosity and lack of good manners, he is the teenager that nobody wants to befriend. He "adopts" Logan, and they set on an adventure that leads them to become young detectives. With excellent characterizations of the main characters as well as of the shady characters and a setting inside a closed amusement park, the book will capture the interest of a reluctant reader. When the boys solve the mystery, and the father of a popular student is implicated in the crime, we learn that sometimes children do pick friends who add a certain "je ne sais quoi" to their lives, despite what adults think! MS.