Reviews /

Libby and the Manhattan Mystery

Authored by Jo Clarke
Illustrated by Becka Moor
Published by Firefly Press Ltd

Manhattan is the thrilling backdrop to this exciting, fast paced mystery where the pupils of the Travelling School uncover dastardly deeds and slippery crooks.

Lovers of The Travelling School Mystery series will not be disappointed with the latest rollicking adventures of Libby and her friends in Libby and the Manhattan Mystery. The children have travelled to New York where they meet Connie’s film star godmother, Eloise, and help her to organise a charity auction. New York provides the perfect background for adventure. The children explore well known landmarks, marvel at the wonderful buildings and really uncover the mysteries of Grand Central Station! There are new characters such as pupil Anastasia, teacher Miss Khatun and the enigmatic Count Alvarez. Are they all what they seem? The children embark on a fast-moving adventure, using their skills of deduction, disguise and cunning. They find themselves in danger but always look after each other.

Jo Clarke’s text is accessible and atmospheric. The reader experiences the thrill of New York in her descriptions of places and events. Her story is a real page -turner and the reader is driven to look for clues and signs within the narrative. The story is really beautifully supported by Becka Moor’s illustrations. She provides pen portraits of the characters, maps to follow, significant chapter headings and pictures of events. There is a great sense of fun throughout the whole book.

Libby and the Manhattan Mystery is suitable for confident readers of about 8+. It is also a book that would make a very exciting story to be read aloud to all KS2 children. There are excellent examples of friendship and support within the story. Children are considerate and help each other. When a new girl joins them, they are welcoming but cautious, involving her in some of their escapades. The book is full of humour and cheerful events. New York is described in all its glory with wonderful food and trips to Central Park. If you are new to this series, I highly recommend you read the two previous novels too.