Dirk Bones and the Mystery of the Missing Books
written and illustrated by Doug Cushman
(Harper Collins Children's Books) 2009
Source: Orange County Public Library
Dirk Bones is the skeletal reporter for The Ghostly Tombs (this would be great name for a rock band!). While interviewing scary story writer Edgar Bleek, it is discovered that the manuscript for Edgar's new book is missing. Dirk finds the only clue which is a strange spotted blue leaf. During his visit to the Ghostly Town Library to look for information, Dirk is told of a similiar mystery by Miss Elsa, the librarian (Miss Elsa looks a lot like a certain Bride of Frankenstein named Elsa). All of the Edgar Bleek books are missing from the town library and the same blue leaf was found next to the bookshelf. This prompts our intrepid Dirk to visit the Green Lagoon where a giant vine with blue leaves leads to the solution of the mystery.
Dirk Bones and the Mystery of the Missing Books is a high interest early reader that will be a favorite in primary classrooms. This book would be a good choice for struggling older readers to read. Students like mysteries and the solution is not one that you figure out early on in the story. If you wanted to teach about writing dialogue in a narrative, this book would be a good choice. The text is easy enough so students can concentrate on learning to write dialogue instead of having to work on comprehension.