Twins Jamie and Marie Longbow are excited about summer with their grandparents, traveling from powwow to powwow selling goods they helped to make. When their grandmother’s most beautiful necklace goes missing, it’s up to the twins to solve the mystery.
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Marie Longbow and her twin brother Jamie accompany their grandparents to a powwow to sell jewelry and regalia. After the family returns from participating in the Friendship dance, they find that Grama’s best piece of jewelry is missing. Using both brains and brawn, the twins track down a surprising thief. The cartoonish drawings have a pop art feel with bright colors, and comic panels are incorporated into the single- and double-page illustrations. A variety of regalia is depicted on the dancers and drummers. Speech bubbles are used for some of the text to emphasis parts of the conversations. Native American terms are sprinkled into the narrative along with descriptions of powwow activities. The book is divided into short chapters, creating a sort of picture book/graphic novel hybrid, which should appeal to emerging and/or reluctant readers. VERDICT This beginning mystery with a Native American focus is a good general purchase, and creates a useful transition from picture books to chapter books or graphic novels for younger readers. (October 11, 2019)
Pierce County Library, WA
This early chapter book with a picture book trim size, the first installment of the Powwow Mystery Series, features twins Jamie and Marie Longbow, who are traveling to powwows this summer with their grandparents to sell Grama’s wares. Jamie excels at tree climbing, while Marie loves to read and memorize facts about birds. When Grama’s best necklace is stolen at the Little Eagle powwow grounds, the first powwow they visit, it’s up to the twins and their respective talents to help solve the case. Bruchac (Brothers of the Buffalo), an enrolled member of the Nulhegan Bank of the Abenaki nation, offers a well-paced introduction of the characters and elements of the powwow over the four chapters. While the foreshadowing may be a bit transparent (“ ‘It’s okay,’ Grampa said as he danced past them. ‘Sleepy Mickey is watching the booth.’ ”), the identity of the thief and the resolution still prove satisfying. Deforest, who was raised on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico, contributes boldly outlined and brightly colored digital illustrations in an accessible comic-book style that will likely entice reluctant readers. Ages 8–up (October 2019)