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The X'ed-Out X-Ray by Ron Roy
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The X'ed-Out X-Ray (2005)

by Ron Roy

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Reason for Reading: As every year, I am participating in the AtoZ Challenge. For the first time, this year I only have the X's left and I will have completed it so I decided to actively search out books. My niece did a little research and came up with this title for me. I had heard of the series before.

The kids, age unspecified, have tickets to go see a famous singer who is coming to town with the nickname "Penguin". One of their Dad's takes them to the outdoor concert but while there during intermission Dink injures his arm. While this is going on the singer's special diamond penguin necklace is stolen. The kids get involved in the mystery and think they know who may be behind the robbery.

Going into this book blind, not knowing whether the series has positive reviews or not I didn't know what to suspect. So I was pleasantly surprised to find myself with a fun little mystery that I thoroughly enjoyed for this early reading level. Well told, interesting, with several possible suspects it should keep young mystery fans entertained. I found myself quickly reading the book in one sitting and deciding to get the first book in the series for my son since it is on target for reading level for him. He is a reluctant reader and this series may just catch his fancy. ( )
  ElizaJane | Nov 25, 2011 |
(Don't forget my kid-lit blog as well; it's at http://kidlit4adults.blogspot.com .)

A friend has convinced me to try my hand this year at writing children's literature; but I don't actually know anything about children's literature, so am starting the process simply by reading a large selection of titles that have been recommended to me. I've been told that these, the "A to Z Mysteries" by Ron Roy (a 26-book series, each named after a different letter in the alphabet) are among the most popular "chapter books" these days among the elementary-school readers they're designed for (so in other words, aged roughly 7 to 10); and indeed, after reading three of them myself (U, X and Y), I can see that they touch on nearly every piece of advice I've now been given regarding writing for this age group, including a strong sense of humor, a quickly-paced but not too complicated storyline, lots of action and mystery, many scenes set in a school environment, and sentences that average around ten words. (Note, however, that these books don't adhere to one piece of advice I've been given, to concentrate on the ways that boys and girls interact at that age; although the three-person team of friends at the center of our tales is co-ed, they essentially all act the same, and eschew relationships with other children mostly to instead interrogate adults regarding the latest mystery they're trying to solve.) In fact, I was surprised by just how old-fashioned and even fuddy-duddy these stories sometimes are, given their immense popularity, happy proof that you don't nearly need to know about all the latest children's fads in order to write books that will appeal to them; they take place in a small middle-class pedestrian-oriented "Leave It To Beaver"esque town where even cellphones barely exist, and except for a few references to the internet could easily be mistaken for the chapter books from the 1950s and '60s that I grew up on.

As is typical for this age group, the "mystery" behind each story is pretty easily solvable, and is used mostly as an excuse to teach the rational problem-solving process of observation, interviews, and logical deduction; and as is typical of many authors for this age group, Roy often uses these stories to emphasize non-controversial moral lessons (i.e. "Lying is bad"), and also I think does an admirable job at adding as much diversity as possible to his admittedly white-bread environment. Each book is around 10,000 words altogether, broken into a dozen or so chapters, and contains dozens of illustrations* by John Steven Gurney.

*And P.S., not that this matters, but there was an aspect of these books that re-awakened an old complaint of mine from when I was in grade school and actually reading such books myself -- namely, the fact that the covers are done in a lush, full-color, photorealistic style, while the interior illustrations are monotonally cartoonish to the level of a typical newspaper comic strip, something I always considered a "bait & switch" scam when I was an actual kid. Although I could care less as a grown-up (and indeed, as a grown-up now understand why such a thing is done in the first place), I found it funny that these books could make a long-forgotten thirty-year-old memory re-emerge like that so profoundly. ( )
  jasonpettus | Jan 31, 2010 |
A group of three friends go to a concert in the park. One of them gets injured and the singer is robbed of her diamond necklace. The kids gather clues to find the missing necklace.

For a children's book (reading level 2.7), this was pretty good. The plot was laid out nicely and there were many suspects to consider. It could bring about great discussions in a book group. I think this series (A to Z Mysteries) would be a great introduction to the mystery genre and a fun read for young mystery lovers. (4/5)

Originally posted on: Thoughts of Joy ( )
  ThoughtsofJoyLibrary | Sep 7, 2009 |
A fun little mystery for kids, where the thief is the one not suspected until the last minute. The kid-detectives use realistic methods to get clues, and are able to catch the culprit with the help of their policeman-friend. ( )
  mzonderm | Dec 24, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375824812, Paperback)

Don’t miss A to Z Mysteries—alphabetic adventures that are full of thrills, chills, and cases to crack!
 
X is for X-Ray...
 
In the twenty-fourth book of the A to Z Mysteries—an early chapter book mystery series featuring strong boy and girl characters—Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose are having an excellent time at the Penelope Gwinn concert. But during intermission, Dink injures his arm! At the same time, the singer's diamond necklace is stolen. Could the two mishaps somehow be connected? And could Dink's X-ray be a clue? It's up to the kids to examine the evidence and find out.
 
Each book includes a map and a letter from the author. Parents, teachers, and librarians agree that these highly collectible chapter books are perfect for emerging readers and any kid who love mysteries!
 

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:50:49 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Ruth Rose, Josh, and Dink attend a concert during which someone steals the star's diamond pendant, and they are soon on the trail of the thief.

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