Reviews for January Joker

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Spring
Twins Bradley and Brian and their friends Nate and Lucy see bright lights and strange tracks in the snow. Then their older siblings, who are supposed to be babysitting, go missing. Have aliens abducted them? In a series of comical episodes, the four first graders unravel the mystery. Though the characters are cardboard, the story is entertaining. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 November #2
Overactive imaginations and a gentle kind of groupthink combine with tricky sixth-grade siblings (all familiar character to readers of Roy's A to Z Mysteries) to make for one exciting Saturday morning. With all the parents out for breakfast and the older kids left in charge as babysitters, younger siblings Brady, Brian, Nate and Lucy take the bait left by their older siblings. First they see a strange snow circle, then mysterious footprints. Next, an article about aliens left on the missing Josh's computer leads the open-eyed youngsters to imagine the worst: Aliens must have stolen their older brothers and sisters! Frequent recaps and straightforward events make this a fine first mystery for the ready-for-chapter-book set. More experienced readers might find the plot simple and predictable, but new readers have to start somewhere and this is the book for them. A light, easy-to-read introduction to this new series…and the A to Z Mysteries they can graduate to, as well. (Mystery. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

This chapter book for budding readers launches Calendar Mysteries, a spinoff of Roy's A to Z Mysteries, starring the seven-year-old siblings of that series' protagonists. During a sleepover, twins Bradley and Brian and their friends Nate and Lucy awaken in the middle of the night to find a strange yellow light in the backyard, illuminating two aliens and a circle in the snow that they presume is the imprint of a spaceship. The next morning, the kids discover three-toed footprints on the ground and realize that their older siblings, who are supposed to be babysitting them, are missing. A phone call from the twins' brother, who says he's on a spaceship, confirms their suspicion that he and his friends have been abducted. And it seems as though some aliens have remained behind-in the attic. It won't require any serious sleuthing for readers to detect what's going on, yet believable banter, humorous moments and chipper illustrations add freshness to the mild mystery. Ages 6-9. (Dec.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 December

Gr 1-3--This spin-off of the popular "A to Z Mysteries" series (Random) stars the younger siblings and cousin of sixth-graders Josh, Ruth Rose, and Dink. In this first installment, seven-year-old Bradley wakes up to see strange lights in the backyard. He rouses his twin and friends Nate and Lucy to investigate the strange occurrence and is convinced that aliens have landed in Green Lawn. Bradley has an easier time convincing the others when Josh, Ruth Rose, Dink, and the dog go missing the next day. The kids find a piece of paper about alien abductions in Josh's printer tray and receive two disturbing phone calls from the suspected abductees. Things get even more harried when they catch glimpses of strange creatures and hear thumps in the attic. The story is full of clever twists and turns and is an excellent choice for reluctant readers. This early chapter book should be a hit with young readers.--Beth Cuddy, Seward Elementary School, Auburn, NY

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