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 color...to 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!