Monday, February 20, 2012


Roy, Ron. Trapped on the D.C. Train. New York: Random House, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-375-85926-7. $4.99 US/$5.99 CAN. Ages 7-12

Ron Roy’s Capital Mystery series contains thirteen beginning reader chapter books, all set in the nation’s capital, starring K.C. Corcoran, the President’s stepdaughter, and her friend Marshall Li. Their adventures land them in various scrapes, requiring them to figure out the clues to the mystery.

The stories are written in typical Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys style, but with simplistic language and texts for young chapter book readers. The clues unfold throughout the first 2/3 of the story, reach a suspenseful climax in which the two kids are in “danger,” then resolve, with a full explanation of how all the clues fit together. The context clues all seemed very obvious to me, but for an elementary reader, would probably be appropriately suspenseful.

The book also has full-page pencil illustrations every chapter to help young readers visualize the action. Online resources include a trivia game and printable coloring pages from the in-text illustrations.

All in all, Roy has created a kid-friendly presidential intrigue: I’d pick this for “silent reading time”!

Marisa Behan

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