Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chase Against Time

Title: Chase Against Time
Author: Steve Reifman
Publisher: Brown Books
Publication Date: March, 2009 (re-released March, 2012)
Genre/Format: Fiction-Mystery/Novel
Summary: Chase is a 6th grader who dreams of playing cello in the school's honor orchestra, but recently the budget has been cut. The day begins with the Chase and the intermediate orchestra are preparing for a PTA fundraiser to raise money to continue supporting the music program by auctioning off a handmade one of a kind cello. The cello is guaranteed to bring enough to save the music program! However, when Chase is walking by the case where the cello is stored, he noticed it missing. The music programs only chance to remain has been stolen! It is now Chase's job to determine who took the cello and save the music program and his dream. 
What I Think: Fans of Scooby Doo, Encyclopedia Brown, and Hardy Boys will find a new kid detective to love in Steve Reifman's Chase mystery series. Chase's mystery is filled with multiple suspects and red herrings and leads to a one day back and forth and ends with quite a surprise.
     I also find Chase Against Time is going to be a great bridge between juvenile fiction like Magic Tree House, Marty McGuire and A to Z Mysteries and larger middle grade books like Emerald Atlas, Liesl & Po, and The Unwanteds. It will definitely help transition readers from one to the other. Chase is in 6th grade, but the story still will very much be connect to elementary students more than middle schoolers. 
     I will say, though, that teachers/adults will need to suspend reality a bit because of the amount of responsibility Chase is given and how he is treated very much like an adult. He is given a lot of the free reign and control throughout the school. I do think, though, that this book would be a fun read aloud to follow the clues and try to figure who the culprit is.
Read Together: Grades 3 to 5
Read Alone: Grades 4 to 6
Read With: A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy, Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon, Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol
Snatch of Text: "My emotions had been going up and down like a roller coaster all day. Five minutes ago, I was all set to capture the final piece of the puzzle and get the proof I needed to implicate [him]. Now I was frustrated." (p. 113) 
Mentor Text for: Mystery, Asking Questions, Predicting
Writing Prompts: Chase spends his whole day investigating the missing cello because he does not want to lose his music class. What class would you work this hard to save? Why? 
Topics Covered: School budget, Music class, Jealousy, Friendship, Teachers 
I *heart* It:
**Thank you to Steve Reifman for the copy of Chase Against Time to read and review**

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