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The Jinson Twins, Science Detectives, and…
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The Jinson Twins, Science Detectives, and the Mystery of Echo Lake

by Steven L Zeichner

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I was very surprised by the way I was hooked into this book. This is a children's book, but could easily (as it did with me) grab the attention and enjoyment of an adult. From the beginning the reader is left wondering what the opening scene has to do with most of the rest of the book, being that the opening scene is the outcome of what comes after it in the book with the exception of the final chapters or two. After a few chapters though, I forgot my question about what the opening scene was there for and read it like it didn't exist. With this said, I feel there isn't a need for it to have been there, but it does add a little to this being a story told by a child character. The recollection factor was well used.

I also enjoyed the addition of science into the book. When writing a children's book the amount of "learning" thrown in can either get more kids interesting in reading it or push others away depending on how it was written into the story. I think these elements were written perfectly into the story. Even at my age, while reading this I didn't realize that I was reading about science or learning till I got halfway through those parts. It wasn't terribly hard to follow either, which is always good for children.

I did feel though, that the "Yellow Jackets" were either unnecessary characters or just needed more involvement. This can be said about the strange man with the blue truck. At the end, his place in the story is explained. But in both cases I can't say for sure whether or not the story benefited from their involvement. Also if there was more development and concern shown from the other characters toward the "villains," I think this book could easily have been geared more towards an adult audience looking for a crime/suspense novel.

One last minor point to make. There were, if I remember my count correctly, about four sentences/paragraphs in the book that need some attention. The entire book was written in the first person from Debbie's point of view. In these few areas though, the author has slipped and written in the third person (i.e. "they" instead of "we.") This doesn't take away from my enjoyment of the book though, but I feel it should be mentioned to help out the author for the future. Plus no body, especially me, is perfect grammatically.

I do hope that Zeichner decides to write another Jinson Twins book. I would enjoy to read more of their adventures. ( )
  Robert.Zimmermann | Oct 7, 2013 |
The Jinson Twins, Science Detectives, and The Mystery of Echo Lake by Steven Zeichner.
SO Funny, the air quotes and 'resource recovery and recycling center' and "A" and RA.
Just like a mystery for pre teens, Nancy Drew type mystery or Hardy Boys
Has all the makings of a mystery: map and treasure and mysterious things.
Boys start out trying to find a job for the summer, they are 12 year old twin boys.
One looks like a girl his hair is SO long. They do find a job organizing and old woman's
basement into different categories. Appears to be things from her dead husbands ship.
Some will be kept, some mailed and some sold.
There was even a box of things that Mrs. Gray gave to them to bring home. One such thing
was a scroll with a map drawn on it and some riddles to figure out. It stated that's where
the treasure was. They go to Mr. Benjamin so he can help them with the map and what it
could mean. He's the owner of the junkyard.
Different kids and a man are after them but they don't know why.
Can see how the teaching aids would help kids learn about science: charts, spreadsheets, graphs, etc.
They all head back to Mrs. Gray's house and ask if she can maybe help them solve the mystery.
She can in a way and that's how they start this book out, on their way to Echo Lake to find the treasure.
The yellow jackets almost get them at the lake, and then the other man enters Mrs. Gray house with his gun to get the real treasure.
Love the science things at the end. ( )
  jbarr5 | Jul 25, 2013 |
Originally posted at: A Girl that likes Book

I got this book through the Member Giveaway program at LybraryThing.com, but with the moving and what not I forgot I had it!. I saw the description of the book, and it got me at “sciences detectives”

The story is told in the voice of Debbie. One thing I have to mention is that a couple of time this changed for a paragraph, to being told by a third person, and then back to first person (Debbie) without any apparent reason. I guess this just slipped from the editors. Other than that I have to give it to Zeicher, I felt like listening to my 12 year old cousin, and I imagine the fact the he is trained in pediatrics and has 2 daughters gave him the practice to know how a 12 year old girl would express herself.

This twins, besides being smart, are not out of the ordinary twins, no special language, no reading of each other thoughts, which I actually liked a lot, because all they do during the mystery is trough thinking, and I love a book that promotes this. After a “long” time where it looks like no-one is going to hire them, they get a call from Mrs Gray an elder lady who needs their help. Along they find the treasure of a map, that her husband promised to her. Here is where Mr. Benjamin, an engineer, comes to help them. Now, why wasn’t him in a more “science” field instead of engineering, I don’t know. With the author’s background in microbiology I was expecting another career for the person pushing the scientific method, but that’s just me.

The book actually makes reference to a real research article (including the URL at NCBI, I’m geeking out here, sorry) and I loved that. Extra points for the last part of the book where you can do an experiment to evaluate the speed of sound.

I think this is the type of book I would love to read to my future daughter and hope that she also falls in love with sicence, or at least understands where my love is coming from. ( )
  CaroPg | Jul 29, 2012 |
The Jinson Twins, Science Detectives, and the Mystery of Echo Lake by Steven l Zeichner
4 STARS
I was entertained by the book, the science was interesting but some was over my head. I was thinking taking some of the crickets home and listening in a quite room.
I do like how they show reasoning out and how to find out things. Showing science in everyday type of usefulness.
Joe and Debbie Jinson are 12 years old twins being raised by a single mom. They spend a lot of time on their own. This summer instead of going to a camp they are supposed to earn some money and save for collage. They decide to put signs up to do summer jobs.
Finally a old lady hires them and she seams a little batty to me. They are taking things out of boxes and putting them in other boxes down in the basement. Finally Mrs. Gray tells them that her money is gone and she needs to sell the old house. Her husband had a treasure of old gold coins but she could not find it.
The twins think they might of found a map and ask their friend Mr. Benjamin what he thinks. Mr. Benjamin is always showing and asking questions using science tools.
Their is a scary old man that follows the twins and in fact almost ran over them while on their bikes.
Their are three older boys who destroys their signs and threatens them to stop trying to do work.
Joe and Debbie are trying to figure out the clues to the map if it is in fact a map. It is a nice mystery and you might even learn a little too when your done. I would read more about the Jinson twins.
I was given this book from Librarythings member giveaway in exchange of honest review.
PUB 2011 185 pages ( )
  rhonda1111 | Jan 25, 2012 |
Twelve year old twins Debbie & Joe are looking for summer work when Mrs. Gray hires them to help her pack up some of her late husband's belongings. In the process they discover a map which they believe will lead them to some hidden treasure. With the help of the junkyard owner, his dog, and Mrs. Gray's parrot they set out to use science to solve the mystery. While this book has an interesting premise, it does lack some in character development and growth. The characters do not change through the story, and there is never any question of how the adventure will end. The science was more interesting than the characters or plot. There are also a few typographical errors and changes in narrative voice. Best for upper elementary age students or junior high. ( )
  milibrarian | Jan 19, 2012 |
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