The Missing Chancleta and Other Top-Secret Cases-MainPhoto

The Missing Chancleta and Other Top-Secret Cases-MainPhotoEight-year old Flaca (Skinny) considers herself a master detective, and in the three cases recounted here, aims to share her skills with young readers—as long as they are willing to first sign her “confidentiality agreement,” included in the front of the book. In the title story, Flaca has to track down a missing (possibly stolen) flip-flop by expertly questioning her parents and older sister. In the second case, she suspects someone of trying to poison her by including fruit in her lunch, but eventually learns that her teacher has put fruit into every student’s lunch. The third and longest case is a bit more metaphysical: what Flaca has lost (or actually never developed) is her sense of rhythm.

Read Related: More Bilingual Book Reviews

She is expected to dance at her sister’s quinceañera, and the idea appalls her, until she begins to succeed in dance class. Flaca’s narrative voice is light and just a bit supercilious. Primary and intermediate age girls ready to move beyond picture books but still a bit leery of full-length novels will enjoy these stories. A few Spanish words are worked into the English language version, and the entire text is also included in Spanish.

—Reviewed by Cooper Renner, Retired Librarian, El Paso Public Schools.