Although I am fascinated by (quality) young adult literature, such as Robert Cormier’s books, I’m not into children’s books that much. Basically, I get to read them out of necessity, mostly with my students. Such is the case with The Case of the Vanishing Painting by James Preller, the 25th booklet in the Jigsaw Jones Mystery Series which I read with one of my thirteen year old Thai student.
The story is well-written and is likely to keep kids glued to its pages. When a painting goes missing, Jigsaw Jones and his partner, Mila Yeh, try to find out who stole it. As Parent’s Night approaches and the painting is needed for the art exhibition, little detective Jones tries hard at eliminating the usual suspects. Of course, the “thief” is the last person you’ll ever expect. As with all books for children, all’s well in the end and everyone’s friends with everyone again.
The Case of the Vanishing Painting is published by Scholastic Coorporation and, as with the entire collection, it has proven quite successful with primary and middle school students from Thailand. It is worth mentioning that, for an ESL (English as a Second Language) reader, some of the slang and wordplay might be a bit too difficult to comprehend without guidance, but still readers can get the meaning from the context. The black and white pictures also help the readers get the gist of what happens in each chapter.
James Preller is a successful American writer of books for children who was born in 1961. Under various pen names, he has written over one hundred books. His most famous series, the Jigsaw Jones Mystery, has sold over 10 million copies world wide. He maintains an excellent blog where he wildly interacts with his readership.