After a month of solving mysteries, third-grader Aven Green is an expert private investigator and there is no case that she cannot crack. At school, a spate of food thefts have left the children and teachers confused. Closer to home, great-grandma’s dog has gone missing. In a neighbourhood riddled with crime, will Aven Green sleuthing machine be able to crack her toughest cases yet…
Dusti Bowling’s delightful early chapter book is a funny and quirky story starring the irrepressible Aven Green. Born without without arms, Aven has to do many things differently to her friends but that doesn’t stop her and it certainly won’t get in the way of uncovering the culprit in this cracking little mystery. Aven can and will do anything she puts her mind to. Following the clues and a very literal trail of crumbs, she, with the help of her family and friends, is soon hot on the tail of a crook whose identify will surprise everyone.
Spunky and straight-talking Aven Green narrates her life and mystery-solving escapades with honesty, wit and bags of humour. As she is quick to point out, born without arms means she has an extra brainy brain as all the cells needed to make her arms went to her head. Precocious, acutely observant and full of life, Aven welcomes you into her world with open feet and toes and you quickly feel like you are listening to your new best friend.
Gina Perry’s black and white illustrations bring Aven’s story to life with many of them showing what life is like for Aven, who has to do all those things that most of us do with our hands with her feet and toes. Personal favourites are adding gummy bears to mint choc chip ice cream, in the classroom where she has a lowered desk so that she can write with her toes and ninja butt chopping the stack of pillows in her bedroom. Inclusivity and representation in children’s books matters.
I love how diverse this book is; Aven has a disability, she is adopted and has a fantastic group of friends of different races and ethnicities - the newest member of the group has Indian ancestry. As we seek to diversify our bookshelves and ensure that all children can feel represented and seen in the books they read, books like this are not only awesome but absolutely essential. And whilst Aven’s disability is an important part of the story it is certainly not the sole focus of the book. This is a read for lovers of mysteries, fun times with friends and those everyday moments that are part of growing-up. Bring on more everyday experiences with Aven Green, I adore her!
Recommended for 6+.