"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Monday, August 5, 2013

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, 2012.

Out of all the good books on the Camp Read-a-Lot book list this year, this was the happiest surprise for me. I really liked this book, and I didn't expect to enjoy it so much. The eccentric characters are funny, the heroine feisty, the plot satisfying and the action exciting. Also, Sheila Turnage has a pleasing way with metaphor. For example, when Mo LoBeau describes her singing ability she says:"My voice is like a turkey gobble crammed in a corset, but nobody's told me to stop singing, and I ain't shy." Mo is an eleven year old living in small town North Carolina with her adoptive parents, the Colonel and Miss Lana. This unusual family arrangement began when baby Mo(ses) was found by the amnesiatic colonel, as she was floating down the river post-hurricane. Now, Mo hunts for her "Upstream Mother" by identifying everywhere that she is not, and by regularly launching message bottles for her to find.

In addition to "researching her autobiography", Mo helps the dramatic, wig-wearing Miss Lana and the lawyer-hating Colonel run a town cafe. One day a policeman shows up investigating an out of town murder, and things get much worse when one of the town's own, the cranky skinflint Mr. Jesse, is also found dead of unnatural causes. Mo and her best friend Dale turn detective and try to get things sorted, but they need all the help possible with upcoming disappearances, kidnapping and treachery. Fortunately, these townsfolk are resourceful, and the mystery unravels with help from everyone from Dale's dreamy race car driving older brother to Mo's arch enemy Anna (aka Attila) Celeste to Detective Starr, himself.

Three Times Lucky is on the reading list for 4th and 5th graders, but would be enjoyed by young people up to 8th grade, as well as middle -aged librarians.

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