Aven Green is a girl with no arms who has decided to put her superior brain cells to use solving mysteries in Aven Green Sleuthing Machine by Dusti Bowling. At first, the mysteries are not all that mysterious. In some cases, she's the guilty party, which makes sleuthing very easy. But, some mysteries require more brain power.
When a string of mysterious disappearances of food at the school along with gigantic messes happen, Aven is on the job. And, when she finds out her grandmother's dog is missing, crime solving becomes even more urgent.
Working in sleuthing around her everyday life at home, at school, and with friends, Aven tracks down clues to the mysteries. But, will she be able to figure out what's going on at school and what's become of her grandmother's dog? Aven doesn't want her grandmother to be sad about her missing fur friend.
Highly recommended - Hilarious and adorable middle grade fun; I smiled all the way through Aven Green Sleuthing Machine. I love the fact that Aven talks about her armlessness up front and then after that it's no big deal. You're reminded when she writes with her toes or picks up a fork with them, and when you see her in the illustrations. But nobody treats Aven like she's any different from them apart from helping her when she asks by doing things like holding a pen or flipping a button. One of my favorite scenes takes place when Aven has her friends over and they're karate-chopping pillows, which totally took me back to childhood sleepovers.
Aven Green Sleuthing Machine is the second of the Aven Green books I've read and both serve as excellent lessons in not "othering" people who are a little different. Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus (link leads to my review) is a YA, while Aven Green Sleuthing Machine takes a step back in time to elementary school — third grade, as I recall. Aven is a great character, funny and delightful. I hope there will be a lot more books about her. I particularly loved the way she gave a title to every mystery, i.e. The Mystery of the Missing Donut (not from the book, just an example).
My thanks to Sterling Children's Books for the review copy!
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