The Money Tree

The McPierson family had recently moved to Puyallup, Washington. Tom, aged ten, and his eight-year-old sister, Jamie, were excited to meet new friends. They soon formed a club--The West Main Five--and discovered the clue to a 25-year-old mystery! Using the library to research, they begin to put together an intriguing puzzle. Will the club solve the mystery which has baffled police for years? Who is the mysterious man who seems so interested in them? Where is the missing money?   Ages 3rd grade and up

Genre

children's Mystery

Critic Evaluation

Cover Design Score: 7

The cover is professional and attractive but not eye-catching. Showing some of the young protagonists would add to the appeal.

Book Blurb Score: 8

Clear and concise and right for the age-group.

Formatting Score: 10

No formatting issues

Grammar & Spelling Score: 10

No grammar or spelling issues.

Plot & Structure Score: 8

The plot is engaging and the structure works to build to a climax. The author created a wonderful sense of secret adventure which cemented the new friendships. The sections where the characters carried out and pieced together their research was well-handled.

Character Development Score: 8

I loved the way the young characters interacted as they worked together to solve the mystery. The interplay between siblings was real and affectionate.

Originality Score: 7

This reminded me of Trixie Belden (much-loved from my childhood) so not original. However, I didn't guess the villain's identity. The young mystery solvers becoming famous was a nice touch.

Pacing Score: 8

The pacing was brisk, good to keep young readers enthralled

Use of Language Score: 8

The language was right for the target age-group.

Overall Readability Score: 9

Great twists and turns and a surprise ending. Plenty to keep young readers interested. A fun read, with likable characters who, I'm sure, will go on to have more adventures.  

This book received a critic's score of 83 out of 100 possible points.

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