Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Isabel Feeney, Star Reporter

Gr 4–6—Chicago in the 1920s provides the setting for this fast-paced mystery. Isabel Feeney is the spunky protagonist who makes friends, young and old, while hot on the trail of a killer. Isabel sells copies of the Chicago Tribune on the city streets to supplement her single mother's salary. When Isabel hears a gun fire, she runs toward the sound to an alley where she sees Miss Giddings, the kind and pretty young lady who regularly buys newspapers from her, kneeling over a dead man. Isabel is quickly involved in the investigation and befriends Maude Collier, a famous Tribune reporter whom she admires for her reporting excellence. Isabel has always aspired to be a female crime reporter, just like Maude, and now is her chance to investigate a real crime with her writing hero. Fantaskey keeps the chapters short and snappy, with each one ending on a mini-cliff-hanger, enticing kids to read on. There are guns and gangsters, future movie stars, glamour, sibling rivalries, bullet proof cars, polio, several possible suspects, and a host of eclectic personalities. Isabel is fearless but expresses her vulnerability in her desire to have friends. The author's historical note explains the inspiration for the novel: five real-life female reporters who wrote for the Chicago Tribune in the 1920s. VERDICT A not-to-be-missed novel for middle graders looking for a satisfying mystery with a daring female heroine.—Helen Foster James, University of California at San Diego Copyright 2015 Reed Business Information.

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