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The case of the case of mistaken identity (brixton


Description: The case of the case of mistaken identity (brixton
File name: The case of the case of mistaken identity (brixton
Kid walks into your library. Says he wants a mystery series. A new mystery series. You hand him Encyclopedia Brown. He withers you with a glance. You hand him Enola Holmes. His upper lip curls at the female protagonist (it happens). You hand him a recent Hardy Boys where they fight terrorists. He looks at you like he may be seriously doubting your sanity. You finally hand him The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett, the first in The Brixton Brothers series. He sighs in relief an Kid walks into your library. Says he wants a mystery series. A new mystery series. You hand him Encyclopedia Brown. He withers you with a glance. You hand him Enola Holmes. His upper lip curls at the female protagonist (it happens). You hand him a recent Hardy Boys where they fight terrorists. He looks at you like he may be seriously doubting your sanity. You finally hand him The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett, the first in The Brixton Brothers series. He sighs in relief and then asks for the other books in the series. You tell him there is only one out right now. He kicks you in the shins. And, ladies and gentlemen, this little drama is soon to play out your home town any minute now. Countless young hoodlums will instantly find their desire for mystery and snarky self-aware writing satiated by this Mr. Barnett, only to find themselves infuriated by the (as of this review) lack of subsequent novels in the series. Reports of the death of the boy detective novel have been greatly exaggerated. It lives on the only way it can in this day and age; with a wink and a nod.

If there’s one thing Steve Brixton knows about it’s detective work. And why wouldn’t he? A fan of the great Bailey Brothers book series, Steve is pretty confident that in the event of a crime he’d definitely be the one to solve it in the end. So all things considered, he’s probably the perfect fellow to be mistaken for an evil spy. That’s just what happens when Steve goes into his local library to check out a book on quilting for a school project. Next thing he knows, Steve’s discovered that all librarians belong to a highly specialized force of undercover agents and he has, unwittingly, pitted himself against them. Now he has to clear his name and find out the true villains before the librarians get their hands on him once and for all.

It’s funny. Funny is hard. I don’t mean to say that there aren’t plenty of books for kids out there that are funny. Sure there are. But to write a funny book is to write a story that sustains its humor and still manages a satisfying ending, which is no small potatoes. Fortunately Barnett, who has seemingly appeared out of the ether itself, has a style that amuses both kids and adults simultaneously, without talking down to either of them. His writing will undoubtedly catch you unawares. It's all in the details. For example, at one point we read, “Steve hated fish. He hated the way they tasted and the way they smelled, but more than anything he hated the way they looked. The problem was in the eyes. There was no difference between the eye of a dead fish and the eye of a live one.” Beautiful. In the same vein the next chapter begins by describing a villain as “a nasty, brutish, and short man.” That’s for the adults.

Now in this book Steve spends much of his time attempting to imitate his beloved book-based heroes, only to find himself failing at almost every turn. Tightening your muscles when you’re tied with ropes so they’ll slip off when the villains leave? Doesn’t really work. Throwing a punch? Not as easy as it sounds. Eventually we get the feeling that the author of these Bailey Brothers books must be a bit of a lazy lou since half the time the boys are rescued at the last minute by their day anyway. Barnett has managed to capture the feel of the old time boys’ adventure novel but has done so without sacrificing our modern logic and sensibilities. It’s sort of what M.T. Anderson keeps trying to do with his Whales on Stilts series without ever quite getting it right. Barnett walks the line and he walks it well.

When Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians came out I found it pandering. Which was an odd reaction because if there’s anything that doesn’t pander to librarians, it’s calling them evil in the title of a book. Still, I wasn’t buying it. Put the word “librarian” in a title and it's like my fellow brethren are instantaneously hypnotized into buying the book. “I don’t know what it was about that story. I just had to get forty copies for my branch!” The best case example of this is The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians. Shameless doesn’t even begin to cover it. So I’m giving an extra 25 points to this book for not saying “library” or “librarian” anywhere in the title. Granted the cover image shows special ops rappelling into a reference section, but that’s forgivable. And Barnett does lay it on pretty thick when he turns librarians to a covert operation that puts the CIA, the FBI, and M5 to shame. Clearly Mr. Barnett has never had the pleasure of watching a room full of MLIS degrees debate the relative merits of doing storytimes in the morning verses doing them in the afternoons of a given weekday. Trust me, we’ve bigger fish to fry than mere international intrigue. Anyway, Barnett protects himself from accusations of true pandering when he makes fun of READ posters. We'll give him credit there.

The book has the most obvious similarities to The Hardy Boys, of course. Steve’s beloved Bailey Brothers are essentially Frank and Joe renamed Shawn and Kevin. But as for this book itself, I saw hints of other boy detective novels lurking in the corners. For example, early in the story Steve listens as his mother’s new boyfriend, a cop, recounts a crime happening in town that has the police stumped. The chapter ends with Steve saying, “I’m not sure the thief is even a human.” Now if that isn’t Encyclopedia Brown all over, I don’t know what is. You half expect to see at the bottom of the page the sentences, “Why was Steve so sure the thief wasn’t a human being? Turn to the back of the book for the answer!” Instead, Steve gives his reasons and, as with the rest of the book, your expectations are upset. Instead of praising him for his ingenuity, Rick the cop just guffaws at what, ultimately, is the correct solution. Steve is simultaneously under and over estimated throughout this book. Usually you get only one or another when you read a mystery novel for kids. Spices things up a bit when you get both (and a variety of different kinds of detective tales as well). Plus I love that rather than tiptoe around the issue of how unlikely it would be for adults to take a kid like this seriously, Barnett rams into the issue with gusto and devil take the consequences.

Pairing illustrator Adam Rex with Barnett seems obvious now and, let’s face it, probably seemed obvious right from the start to everyone involved with this project. He’s precisely the kind of man you want working on a book of this sort. Rex’s pen-and-ink drawings can be cartoonish one moment and then drawing beautifully incomprehensible technical diagrams (knot-tying, anyone?) the next. The man has range and range is what you want when you hope to mix realism with outright goofiness. Plus Rex is funny in his own right without distracting from Barnett’s humor. When you see that picture of Steve standing in the doorway of a rough bar in a ridiculous sailor costume, the outfit is funny but even funnier are the tough guys who have also stopped to stare at him. The captions on the photos, besides adding a nice retro feel, are the icing on the cake.

I’m immature enough that I was pleased with myself when I guessed the villain correctly, long before the end of the book. I am also thirty-one, so I probably shouldn’t feel as good about that as I do. Still, if you’re in the neighborhood for a great new mystery series with a tongue stuck so far into its cheek that it’s practically coming out its ear, this is it. Modern to its core but still a good mystery and action adventure novel, this is one of the smartest little books I’ve seen in a long time. 21st century kids are gonna adore it. Guaranteed.

For ages 9-12. ...more

Kate Willis
I've always loved (and slightly laughed at) children's detective novels, so this book was a real treat! It celebrated the cliche in a preposterous, humorous way while disproving some of the old flex-your-muscles-when-you're-tied-up tricks in the process. ;) The main character has some crazy adventures with detective manual and wits tested to the limits as he faces kidnappers, thieves, (view spoiler)[highly trained librarians ], and the whole police department. I really enjoyed the I've always loved (and slightly laughed at) children's detective novels, so this book was a real treat! It celebrated the cliche in a preposterous, humorous way while disproving some of the old flex-your-muscles-when-you're-tied-up tricks in the process. ;) The main character has some crazy adventures with detective manual and wits tested to the limits as he faces kidnappers, thieves, (view spoiler)[highly trained librarians ], and the whole police department. I really enjoyed the writing style, and the true to life details kept me laughing. The plot was very good, and a few twists ((view spoiler)[like the brother ]) were surprising. ;) Not recommended for younger readers because of some disrespect of adults and intense action including kidnapping.

Best quote: It's a well-known fact that the chums of detectives are always getting kidnapped. For instance, Shawn and Kevin Bailey's best friend, Ernest Plumly, gets abducted in thirty-two of the fifty-nine Bailey Brothers adventures. Every time, the Bailey Brothers always come to the rescue.

Altogether, I quite enjoyed this fantastic, clever, hilarious book! I'll definitely be checking out the rest of the series. ...more

Vimal Thiagarajan

Vimal Thiagarajan rated it liked it

An experimental light read that I took up searching for something similar to Hardy boys. It's that kind of YA mystery where juvenile sleuths who've never been behind the wheel go about honking and tonking in stolen police cars, and the police go about chasing them in commandeered bicycles painted blue with white bubbles and sporting a basket in front. But that is to say nothing of a clever twist here or an intelligent dash of good humor there. Sometimes I thought it to be perfect for the target An experimental light read that I took up searching for something similar to Hardy boys. It's that kind of YA mystery where juvenile sleuths who've never been behind the wheel go about honking and tonking in stolen police cars, and the police go about chasing them in commandeered bicycles painted blue with white bubbles and sporting a basket in front. But that is to say nothing of a clever twist here or an intelligent dash of good humor there. Sometimes I thought it to be perfect for the target audience-'the reluctant reader' category and sometimes I thought the book was even better than that and more current. An okayish kids-get-lucky read. ...more

Nan Sprester

Omigosh, I love this book. It's an homage to the Hardy Boys and a send-up at the same time. My fellow school librarians should read this first book in the series if for no other reason than to savor the notion of librarians as part of an elite force of secret agents. For students looking for humor with their mystery, this series should fit the bill.

Nicole

Nicole added it

The case of the case of Mistaken Idenity identiy is about a boy named steve brixten and his favorite writer is Mac Bart. I think that is realy cool that steve has a favortie writer because you can read the whole seres or just the one book and know they are good because it is your favortie author. He writes letters to Bart and one day he gets one back form Mac. I was really exited when i heard that he gets a letter because it is so awsome that he got a letter from his favorite author,then he gose The case of the case of Mistaken Idenity identiy is about a boy named steve brixten and his favorite writer is Mac Bart. I think that is realy cool that steve has a favortie writer because you can read the whole seres or just the one book and know they are good because it is your favortie author. He writes letters to Bart and one day he gets one back form Mac. I was really exited when i heard that he gets a letter because it is so awsome that he got a letter from his favorite author,then he gose and tries to met him. This is my favorite part because it starts the mystery and it kind of makes you want to keep reading unit you finish the book. It is a realy good book and i hope you read it. ...more

Cara
Cara rated it really liked it

Shelves: juvenile, Mystery, audio-or-playaway, first-in-series, read-more-than-once, funny-to-me, 2012, librarians, st-als, school-book-clubs, trc-15

“Dear Mom,
I won't be home this weekend because I'm wanted for treason and I have to clear my name. Also, I took the last Sprite from the fridge.
Love, Steve”

The audio version of this book was very well done. The narrator does a good job.
The story itself was funny. Steve loves detective stories, so when he gets caught up in a mystery he is well prepared.
He is up against librarians, the police, and a mysterious bad guy named Mr. E.
With the help of his chum, Steve tackles "The Case of the Case of “Dear Mom,
I won't be home this weekend because I'm wanted for treason and I have to clear my name. Also, I took the last Sprite from the fridge.
Love, Steve”

The audio version of this book was very well done. The narrator does a good job.
The story itself was funny. Steve loves detective stories, so when he gets caught up in a mystery he is well prepared.
He is up against librarians, the police, and a mysterious bad guy named Mr. E.
With the help of his chum, Steve tackles "The Case of the Case of the Mistaken Identity". ...more

Melissa K.

Melissa K. marked it as to-read

Steve Brixton always wanted to be a detective, until he found out he was one. Just giving cereal box tops and .95 for handling and shipping you get a detective lisence. One day, Steve was given a homework assignment on needlework, though he would have rather written about detectives whom his best chum, Dana got. When Steve goes to the library, he shows the librarian his "detective lisence" and wants to get the book on american needlework, things start to go wrong. The library thinks Steve Steve Brixton always wanted to be a detective, until he found out he was one. Just giving cereal box tops and .95 for handling and shipping you get a detective lisence. One day, Steve was given a homework assignment on needlework, though he would have rather written about detectives whom his best chum, Dana got. When Steve goes to the library, he shows the librarian his "detective lisence" and wants to get the book on american needlework, things start to go wrong. The library thinks Steve works for Mr. E, an international criminal. Something got to be interesting with this book, Steve has been chased by librarians, police, a guy who works for Mr. E, and Rick (Steve's mother's boyfriend.) Steve must find a way to get out of this dilemma, otherwise he will be put under bars. Using his Bailey Brother's detective book, Steve manages to escape the librarians and police by hiding in the most unthinkable places, for example, a grandfather clock. Together, Dana and Steve uncover who Mr. E really is and where the quilt was. Want to know who Mr. E actually is? Want to know who stole the quilt? Read the book to find out!
I really liked how the author used a book inside of a book, for example, Mac Barnett put the detective book inside of the actual story. I never knew that librarians would ever become top-secret agents, even in stories because it doeesn't make any sense. Why don't they just have the FBI instead of the librarians? I was surprised that Steve succeeded the mission because all he followed was a detective book. I also really liked how the author uses hilarious quotes, for example, "You see, Steven, Librarians are the most elite, best trained secret force in the United States of America. Probably in the world."
"No way."
"Yes way."
"What about the FBI?"
"Featherweights."
"The CIA?"
Mackintosh snorted. "Don't make me laugh. Those guys can't even dunk a basketball and read a book at the same time.” I really recommend this book to you because it is funny and mysterious. ...more

Sophia
The boys in my elementary library would not leave this book on the shelves long enough during the school year for me to read it. And when they kept coming in asking me for more like it, I knew I had to read it myself just so I would know what they are looking for!

This book has all the classic elements that boys are looking for in a book -- mystery, detective work, a little humor, and lots of very SHORT cliffhanger chapters that will leave them saying, "OK, just one more chapter!"

The illustration The boys in my elementary library would not leave this book on the shelves long enough during the school year for me to read it. And when they kept coming in asking me for more like it, I knew I had to read it myself just so I would know what they are looking for!

This book has all the classic elements that boys are looking for in a book -- mystery, detective work, a little humor, and lots of very SHORT cliffhanger chapters that will leave them saying, "OK, just one more chapter!"

The illustrations are all done in black and white. Also included are letters, notes that the main character, Steve Brixton, takes about the crime he is solving, and references to a detective handbook Steve enjoys reading. (References in a fiction book about another fiction book is coined metafiction, a new and highly popular writing style.) It is easy for the reader to follow along with these references because the font is different. Steve is constanly referring to his handbook to help him out.

Librarians are portayed in this book as secret agents (one of the reasons I love this book). I loved all the references to their undercover abilities..."Every Librarian is a highly trained agent. An expert in intelligence, counterintelligence, Boolean searching, and hand-to-hand combat."

I enjoyed reading this fast paced mystery. I even caught myself laughing out loud a couple of times (and I solved the mystery before the book ended and I didn't even skim the last chapter!) And hey, if Jeff Kinney and Jon Scieszka give their stamp of approval, then what more convincing does anyone need?
...more

Michael
Part Encylopedia Brown, part Hardy Boys homage and parody, the first installment in the Brixton Brothers mystery series is a lot of fun and one of those books that kids will get a kick out of while older readers smile at the jokes and references.

Steve Brixton is an ordinary kid who loves reading the fictional adventures of the Baily Brothers (his favorite is whichever in the 50 plus series he's reading at the time). Steve is assigned a school project to write about the history of quilt making, s Part Encylopedia Brown, part Hardy Boys homage and parody, the first installment in the Brixton Brothers mystery series is a lot of fun and one of those books that kids will get a kick out of while older readers smile at the jokes and references.

Steve Brixton is an ordinary kid who loves reading the fictional adventures of the Baily Brothers (his favorite is whichever in the 50 plus series he's reading at the time). Steve is assigned a school project to write about the history of quilt making, something he is less than thrilled about. He heads out to his local library to get a book and before he knows it, he's being pursued by a secret society of librarians, the U.S. government, his mom's new boyfriend.

"The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity" is a fun book in the vein of the old Encyclopedia Brown mysteries I grew up reading. But the story does have an over-the-top absurdity factor that keeps the smiles coming and will have you racing through to see how it all ends. The asides in which Steve reflects on advice he's taken from the Bailey Brothers mystery series and their detective's handbook are a pure joy and worth the price of admission alone.

I only hope the next installment comes soon. ...more

Treasa
Treasa rated it it was amazing

Shelves: mystery, children, chapter-books, grades-3-5, adventure, books-for-boys

Twelve-year-old Steve Brixton has always dreamed of being a detective. He hopes one day to be like the Bailey Brothers, the heroes of his favorite books. When Steve is assigned a topic for an essay, his life gets very strange very quickly. Suddenly he finds himself in the middle of a mystery as the suspected criminal, and he needs to use all those skills he learned from the Bailey Brothers to save himself and the world. Who knew early American needlework could be so interesting?

This book cracked Twelve-year-old Steve Brixton has always dreamed of being a detective. He hopes one day to be like the Bailey Brothers, the heroes of his favorite books. When Steve is assigned a topic for an essay, his life gets very strange very quickly. Suddenly he finds himself in the middle of a mystery as the suspected criminal, and he needs to use all those skills he learned from the Bailey Brothers to save himself and the world. Who knew early American needlework could be so interesting?

This book cracked me up. I suspect that I would have found it even funnier if I had been a big Hardy Boys fan when I was younger because that is very obviously what this book is mimicking. I know enough about the Hardy Boys to find those references amusing, but it would have been funny even if I knew nothing about them. Any book that involves librarians as secret agents automatically earns major points. And throw in lines like "Every Librarian is a highly trained agent. An expert in intelligence, counterintelligence, Boolean searching, and hand-to-hand combat" and... yeah. I laughed a lot both because it was funny and because it was so very awesome. ...more

Cameron G.

Cameron G. rated it it was amazing

I recently finished the book, The Brixton Brothers by: Mac Barnett. It is about a young student named Steve Brixton who goes on an in expected adventure. One day, Steve was at the library to check out a quilting book for a school report. He thought that it was just a normal book, but it turns out that it holds all of the government's secrets. When he checked the book out his life changed for ever. Everything went black and he got kidnaped by a bunch of librarians who claimed that they were the I recently finished the book, The Brixton Brothers by: Mac Barnett. It is about a young student named Steve Brixton who goes on an in expected adventure. One day, Steve was at the library to check out a quilting book for a school report. He thought that it was just a normal book, but it turns out that it holds all of the government's secrets. When he checked the book out his life changed for ever. Everything went black and he got kidnaped by a bunch of librarians who claimed that they were the nations top soldiers and that Steve was a private detective working for the evil Mr.E. Steve uses hints from the Bailey Brothers Detective Handbook (a book that teaches him all the tips and tricks a good deceive needs to know) and his sleuthing skills to gather clues and evedance to clear his name. He also ends up saving America from Mr.E! I don't think that I can really relate to Steve because he always thinks like a detective everywhere he goes. I think this book will appeal to people who like mystery, adventure, and humor books. This is a great first book in a great series. ...more

Amy

Amy rated it really liked it

This was fun! Sort of Hardy Boys meets Nate the Great meets Leave it to Beaver. Steve (never Steven!) consults his Brixton Brothers (like the Hardy Boys) Detective Handbook for advice on everything. This comes in handy with the Librarians accuse him of trying to steal one of America's great knowledge secrets- a quilt-- from the library. (Because Librarians are more skilled than FBI or CIA agents, didn't you know). Meanwhile, the evil schemer trying to get the quilt, Mr. E (like mystery, get it?) This was fun! Sort of Hardy Boys meets Nate the Great meets Leave it to Beaver. Steve (never Steven!) consults his Brixton Brothers (like the Hardy Boys) Detective Handbook for advice on everything. This comes in handy with the Librarians accuse him of trying to steal one of America's great knowledge secrets- a quilt-- from the library. (Because Librarians are more skilled than FBI or CIA agents, didn't you know). Meanwhile, the evil schemer trying to get the quilt, Mr. E (like mystery, get it?) is trying to catch Steve to see what he knows, and the good intentioned but generally bumbling local law enforcement are trying to find him too. Recommended to me a patron who listened to the audiobook with her boys (7 and 5) on a car trip and said the boys were "howling" with laughter the entire story. Sadly, there's just one sequel so far, but it appears book #3 is due out in early October! ...more

Boni

Um, goodreads, where is the sixth star when I need one?! This book was pure joy for me to read from first page to last. Why? Because it entertained both the writer in me (perfect novel structure, characterizations, suspense, and clever as all get out) AND the kid in me. It is truly kid-friendly- it will entertain kids while not talking down to them, which is what it's all about with a chapter book. Short chapters and a fast-paced fun plot filled with humor and danger and smartness- I'm going to Um, goodreads, where is the sixth star when I need one?! This book was pure joy for me to read from first page to last. Why? Because it entertained both the writer in me (perfect novel structure, characterizations, suspense, and clever as all get out) AND the kid in me. It is truly kid-friendly- it will entertain kids while not talking down to them, which is what it's all about with a chapter book. Short chapters and a fast-paced fun plot filled with humor and danger and smartness- I'm going to be completely confident handing The Brixton Brothers to a boy who might not like reading very much... until he gets hooked for life with a book like this. Thank you, Mac Barnett. LOVE this book. ...more

Rebecca

What fun! This is what happens when a boy who loves the Hardy Boys--uh, I mean, the 'Bailey Brothers'--finds himself caught in a mystery that could have come straight from one of his favorite books. Good thing he has his Bailey Brothers Detective Handbook with him! Bad thing is he's being chased by fifteen secret agent librarians...and all because his teacher wanted him to do a report on early American needlework. Well, we all know that research is not for the faint of heart.

Ms. Foley

Ms. Foley rated it liked it

If you read the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, or Boxcar Children series, you will appreciate this book. It's kind of a play on those kid detectives. Also, librarians are super spies, so that's kind of cool.

Michael

Michael rated it liked it

Solid YA mystery. Not as funny as it perhaps thinks it is, but then again, I'm not 10 years old. Probably works better for the target audience than for adult YA lovers, which is not at all a bad thing. Still, fun and light.

Brittany Standard platz

Brittany Standard platz rated it really liked it

We listened to this Texas Bluebonnet Book on the way back from Amarillo with our nine-year-old-son. It is a definite must if you have a reluctant reader or a child who loves a great action packed mystery. My husband and I loved it too!

Amy

This was a fun read aloud for 3rd and 4th graders. I was even thinking it read like it could be turned into a pretty cool movie. The kids really enjoyed it.

Molly
Librarians...they're everywhere!

A fun read for kids and grownups alike. Especially, if you happen to be a librarian.

Try this with fans of Fake Mustache

Amanda

This book was hilarious! Yeah for top secret, skilled librarians! Love the riff on the Hardy Boys! Will fully recommend this to patrons, but I guess, now I will have to keep my identity hidden.

Faith K

Faith K rated it it was amazing

So good

Roberta
This is a lame homage to the Hardy Boys and I'm rounding up to 3-stars to be kind. One of the back-cover blurbs promises that this will be the funniest book I read this year. It's not. It's also not the most exciting book. Although much of the action in the Hardy Boys books, as well as the Rick Brant and Brains Benton books, is much less realistic, some of it is still more convincing that what goes on here.

It was smart of the author to pander to librarians since it practically guarantees that a This is a lame homage to the Hardy Boys and I'm rounding up to 3-stars to be kind. One of the back-cover blurbs promises that this will be the funniest book I read this year. It's not. It's also not the most exciting book. Although much of the action in the Hardy Boys books, as well as the Rick Brant and Brains Benton books, is much less realistic, some of it is still more convincing that what goes on here.

It was smart of the author to pander to librarians since it practically guarantees that a certain number of libraries will buy the book and then, having started the series, continue. In some libraries this process has become so automatic that publishers could probably get away with binding and shipping blank paper.

Many of the reviewers are calling it a YA book but it's at the younger end of that category. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't recommend this book to an older teen.

...more

Ensiform
Steve Brixton, normal kid and superfan of an old detective series called The Bailey Brothers, finds himself involved in a bizarre caper involving a top secret spy organization called Librarians (who are also librarians). These Librarians enlist a reluctant and incredulous Steve to find the McGuffin Quilt, a Revolution-era quilt on which is encoded all of America’s most important secrets.

What makes this book stand out among the many mysteries and thrillers with kid protagonists is the humor. Fist Steve Brixton, normal kid and superfan of an old detective series called The Bailey Brothers, finds himself involved in a bizarre caper involving a top secret spy organization called Librarians (who are also librarians). These Librarians enlist a reluctant and incredulous Steve to find the McGuffin Quilt, a Revolution-era quilt on which is encoded all of America’s most important secrets.

What makes this book stand out among the many mysteries and thrillers with kid protagonists is the humor. Fist, the fictional Bailey Brothers books are a thinly veiled and pitch-perfect pastiche of the hokey, outdated Hardy Boys, but Steve accepts the books’ ridiculous advice on how to be a detective at face value. This leads to him walking into a bar dressed as a sailor, talking like a heavy from a badly written 1950s noir film – only to be taken at face value as well. The police call him “Detective” and tell him to clean up his own messes, while the bad guys treat him as a gumshoe and not a kid. The plot is clever, the mystery is tricky, the danger and thrills are real, and deadpan humor is flat-out hilarious. A brilliant book, maybe even too clever for its young audience to appreciate. ...more

WHiT MiLLz

WHiT MiLLz rated it it was amazing

All I will say about this book is it is AWESOME. Read it if you like action.

Erica

This spoof of Hardy Boys mysteries had me in stitches while reading. Barnett enthusiastically embraced how ridiculous the genre is from the fact that the series is called "The Brixton Brothers" despite Steve being an only child to adults mistaking him for an actual detective just because he has a junior detective card from his favorite mystery series. The excerpts from said series were some of the funniest parts of the book from the illustrations on how to tie knots that make no sense to the This spoof of Hardy Boys mysteries had me in stitches while reading. Barnett enthusiastically embraced how ridiculous the genre is from the fact that the series is called "The Brixton Brothers" despite Steve being an only child to adults mistaking him for an actual detective just because he has a junior detective card from his favorite mystery series. The excerpts from said series were some of the funniest parts of the book from the illustrations on how to tie knots that make no sense to the absolutely awful advice. The fact that Steve steadfastly follows said advice with predictable results only cements the comedy. I'd give this to any kid looking for a funny book. ...more

Paul Willis

Paul Willis rated it really liked it

This was so hilarious I think I actually laughed out loud! And it was as brilliant as it was funny. It was a clever mystery with startling twists. From the very start of reading this book, you will never think of children's detective novels the same.

Derek Slominski

Derek Slominski rated it it was amazing

This book is very exceptional for readers who like mystery and suspension.

Jarrett

Jarrett rated it it was amazing

This book is a great mystery with lots of action and comedy. I related to Steve, the main character, because we are around the same age. Whenever hes in trouble he refers to the handbook of is favorite series The Baily Brothers. I would recommend this book to anyone entertained by mysteries.

Blessing

Blessing rated it really liked it

Author did a good job of making this book, whose main character loves the fictional series about "The Bailey Brothers", a modern day Hardy Boy book.

Chris
A note was siting on the kitchen counter, illuminated by moonlight. Steve strained to read it:

Steve,
The police say you are in trouble. I am with Rick looking for you. If you're reading this, call my cell phone. The police can help you.
I love you.
Love,
Mom

Steve grabbed a pen from the top of the microwave and turned the paper over. He wrote:

Dear Mom,
I won't be home this weekend because I'm wanted for treason and I have to clear my name. Also, I took the last Sprite from the fridge.
Love,
Steve

Steve p A note was siting on the kitchen counter, illuminated by moonlight. Steve strained to read it:

Steve,
The police say you are in trouble. I am with Rick looking for you. If you're reading this, call my cell phone. The police can help you.
I love you.
Love,
Mom

Steve grabbed a pen from the top of the microwave and turned the paper over. He wrote:

Dear Mom,
I won't be home this weekend because I'm wanted for treason and I have to clear my name. Also, I took the last Sprite from the fridge.
Love,
Steve

Steve put the note on the counter, took the last Sprite from the fridge, and tiptoed to the bottom of the stairs. Everything he did, he did quietly--the Librarians could have the place bugged.

Steve was very good at moving silently through his house. He was always sneaking around at home, practicing the Bailey Brothers' methods of stealthy sleuthing.

Steve has read every book in the Bailey Brothers mystery series and constantly studies The Bailey Brothers' Detective Handbook, practicing all the skills that will make him a detective. He's very smart and capable. It's just that the books are very old, which mean his tools and methods are very out of date and that Steve calls his best friend his "chum" and uses other old-fashioned terms and language.

No one notices or cares, though, since much more ludicrous things are afoot. When Steve checks out a library book for his school research assignment, he is arrested by a secret operations team of librarians who accuse him of treason. They say he is working for Mr. E and want to know all of his secrets. Steve has no secrets, but now he's on the run, trying to find Mr. E for the cops and librarians to clear his name.

The height of silly hilariousness, this is a mystery book that has a ton of fun not making much sense. And how could I not rate it well, with this over-the-top pander?

"You see, Steven, Librarians are the most elite, best trained secret force in the United States of America. Probably in the world."

"No way."

"Yes way."

"What about the FBI?"

"Featherweights."

"The CIA?"

Mackintosh snorted. "Don't make me laugh. Those guys can't even dunk a basketball and read a book at the same time. Every Librarian is a highly trained agent. An expert in intelligence, counterintelligence, Boolean searching, and hand-to-hand combat. . . .

"Listen, Steven: Librarians are the guardians of knowledge. And yes, we make sure knowledge is available, gratis, to everyone. 'Just loaning them books,' as you so crudely put it, is an important job." He paused and looked right at Steve. "But it's not the reason we're proficient in seven different kinds of martial arts."

Steve shifted in his seat.

"You see, Steven, some information is so secret that only a highly trained secret-keeper can keep it. United States Librarians make sure America's secrets don't fall in front of the wrong eyes. Trust me, Steven: Librarians are just about the only thing holding this country together." ...more

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“He checked out his surrounding. More books. A drinking fountain. A poster showing a guy slam-dunking a basketball with one hand and holding a book in the other, urging kids to READ! Weird, thought Steve. How can he even see the hoop?

...

You see, Steven, Librarians are the most elite, best trained secret force in the United States of America. Probably in the world."
"No way."
"Yes way."
"What about the FBI?"
"Featherweights."
"The CIA?"
Mackintosh snorted. "Don't make me laugh. Those guys can't even dunk a basketball andd read a book at the same time.”  —  19 likes

“Dear Mom,
I won't be home this weekend because I'm wanted for treason and I have to clear my name. Also, I took the last Sprite from the fridge.
Love, Steve”  —  8 likes
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