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“Mr. Hanley shows that size really does matter in sports," Zach said. “The size of your talent and the size of your heart.” –The Missing Baseball
The Missing Baseball
The Zach and Zoe Mysteries #1
by Mike Lupica
There’s nothing eight-year-old twins Zach and Zoe Walker love more than playing sports and solving mysteries. And when the two worlds collide. . . well, it doesn’t get any better than that! So when a baseball signed by Zach’s favorite major league player goes missing, the search is on! Luckily, amateur sleuths Zach and Zoe are on the case. Can they solve the mystery and find the ball before it’s lost for good?
Zach and Zoe are positive characters who are kind to each other. Even though they are competitive, they do not get upset when they lose. While the sibling’s parents do not appear in the book often, the kids talk about the lessons their parents have taught them, including being a good teammate and not jumping to conclusions. The twins’ mom also reminds them that, “It’s not the souvenirs that matter. It’s the memories that go with them.”
Even though the story has a positive message, the message is repeated often and tends to sound like a lecture. While most of the story takes place at the siblings’ school, most of the illustrations only show the siblings. The only other boy that appears in a picture is Mateo, who some think stole Zach’s ball. The short chapters and illustrations that appear every 4 to 7 pages make The Missing Baseball a quick read. However, emerging readers may struggle with some of the vocabulary.
The Missing Baseball blends mystery and sports into a story that younger readers will enjoy. The story’s positive lessons and kind main characters are some of the book’s best features. While parents might not connect with Zach and Zoe, the story is a quick read and will appeal to parents looking for a book to read aloud to their child. Old readers who are ready for a more developed plot may quickly become bored with the Zach & Zoe Mysteries. The Ball Park Mysteries by David A. Kelly would be a better choice for fluent readers.
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