Tag Archives: mystery

Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the U.F.O. by David Adler

23 Mar

David Adler’s series surrounding a girl with a photographic nicknamed Cam are intriguing stories for ages 7-10. In terms of literary offerings, they are slim, but when trying to motivate students to read this series is a great to have in the primary school library. The story begins with Cam and her friend Eric Shelton discussing the upcoming Junior Photography Contest. Mysterious bright light are seen off in the distance and leave it to Cam and Eric to discover what the eerie lights are. In the end, the mystery is solved and Eric goes on to receive honorable mention in the photography contest. This story is recommended with reservations, but this series is truly a big hit with younger readers.


If I were reading this book for me, boring, boring and more boring. Luckily for this title, selecting books for my library means putting the wants and needs of library patrons first. Will most kids like this series? Probably. Are there better books out there? For sure. As long as children are reading these books and loving them…consider having them in your collection and not just a single copy, but at least two of each. This series goes super fast in our school library and students always ask for more.

Suggested Library Activity:

Using a Venn Diagram have students compare and contrast the differences and similarities between Eric and Cam.  Be sure to use adjectives in the lesson and also discuss how adjectives make characters come to life.

Bibliographic Citation:

Adler, D. (1980). Cam jansen and the mystery of the u.f.o. New York. Viking Press.

Additional Book Review:

Horn Book (Spring 2001)

“Each volume contains two previously published Cam Jansen stories bound together. These formulaic, mild mysteries describe how Cam and her friend Eric solve problems using moxie and Cam’s never-fail photographic memory. Early chapter-book readers may appreciate the stories, which are illustrated with black-and-white line drawings.”


From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by El Konigsburg

17 Mar

Winner of the 1968 Newbery Medal

Every child dreams of an adventure and Claudia Kincaid sets out on a trip that will change her life. She decides to runaway from her home in Greenwich because…”She was the oldest child and the only girl and was subject to a lot of injustice.” Claudia Kincaid, an eleven year old girl, chooses to runaway to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She also decides to take her younger brother Jamie along. Kincaid methodically plans her adventure right down to the bus fare for her and her brother Jamie. While in the museum the two children’s curiosities are peaked when they view a sculpture of an angel thought to be created by Michelangelo himself. Lady Claudia and Sir James as the two refer to each other decide to discover the creator of the angelic scupture. After visits to the library Lady Claudia and Sir James find out the person that auctioned the sculpture is Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Claudia and James eventually solve the mystery and return safe and sound to their home with the help of Mrs. Frankweiler.


Having actually runaway as a child I understand what little Claudia must be feeling at the beginning of the story. Getting lost amid all your brothers and sisters does make one feel quite small. The author has taken that emotion and created an entire adventure that gives children experiencing that emotion a place to take solace. This book is mystery, adventure and a dash of glam. Who wouldn’t want to live in a museum-The New York Metropolitan museum at that? Somewhat of a bohemian lifestyle, taking bathes in the fountain. When can I sign up and hopefully I don’t have to pay rent! I have never been much of a mystery person, but surprisingly I thoroughly enjoyed this story.

Suggested Library Activity:

Have students create their own sculpture using clay.  Show an art documentary about famous sculptors.

Bibliographic Citation:

Konigsburg, E. (1967). From the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. New York: Atheneum.

Additional Book Review:

For 35 years, even readers who have never traveled to New York City have visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, courtesy of Claudia Kincaid, heroine of From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. Winner of the 1968 Newbery Medal, this novel charts one girl’s mission to run away from her straight-As life to somewhere beautiful-the Met. In the process, she becomes obsessed with uncovering the secrets of a breathtaking statue. A 35th-anniversary dust jacket and a new afterword by the author caps this adventure that has captivated readers for more than a quarter-century.

Publishers Weekly (November 11, 2002). Review of the book From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Retrieved from