Thursday, April 15, 2010

a review of "Nana Cracks the Case" [24]

Nana Cracks the Case by Kathleen Lane, illustrated by Sarah Horne
(Chronicle Books, ISBN-13: 978-0811862585)

Now, I must admit this is not my usual fare, since the reading age recommendation for this book is 4-8 and on most day, I am a bit beyond that. But I must say when I saw this one offered on Amazon Vine, I was taken with the idea of a mystery for young kids and wanted to check out this rather unusual grandmother.

Yes, Nana does not want to be the typical grandmother, losing her memory and napping the day away.
No, this grandmother is a bit unusual, getting jobs as a backhoe operator, or a circus performer or, as we read in this book, a detective. It may be because no one else applied for the job, but still she got it, and has the many wigs that every good detective needs and she is very sneaky, as the job ad requires, and is soon on the case of the missing Yumdums.
And before we know it, her two troublemaking grandkids, having broken out of the house where their mom left them while she went to work, are right there lending their own expertise to the hunt of the Great Yumdum Thief. Who would know candy better than these two and who better to help their grandmom than the only people who share the knowledge of her secret activities?

Now, some may objects to the behavior of the children, disobeying their mom and stealing money for candy from her, among some other naughty things. And it is not beyond understanding why her daughter does not want Nama to babysit because, as interesting as she may be, she does seem to forget a lot of things, like where she is going. But still, all in all it is a fun book. And I can see how kids would find some of these behaviors very funny and on a more serious note, parents could use them as the jumping off point for some discussion.

The illustrations are great and let me just say, I totally loved the reversible cover. Be sure not to miss it! So useful if you are trying to fool some nosy people. Now I might have liked it even more if at least some of the illustrations were in my mind, this is a book crying out for color. And it may also be crying out as a book that needs to be a series. I can see Nana and her grandchildren getting into a lot of fun misadventures, carrying on well into the future!


  1. Kinda reminds me of Grandma Mazur from the Stephanie Plum series! Or the extreme sports Grandma in that movie Hoodwinked. I love it!

  2. have a point! there is a resemblance. Sort of the kiddie version of Grandma Mazur!

  3. That seems unusual that it is not in color. Boo hiss on that publisher! Sounds like a fun book though. This might be the kind of book that gets kids hooked on mysteries for life. Still, that color issue should be addressed.

  4. this one sounds like one we'll be getting for our library storyhour...
    and I'm not sure color is as important to kids...they're going to focus on the story and their little minds will be coloring in the pictures.

  5. I guess my dulled adult mind might need the

  6. I have to read this one to my nephews.Thanks!

  7. I want to be like Nana when I grow up.

  8. This sounds like fun ... but would a 4 year old really get it do you think?

  9. well, it fits the recommended ages...

    yes, I do thinks so actually. the drawings, the humor...yes, I can see it.


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