Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage. Mystery.
Life in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC is pretty typical until trouble rolls into town in the form of Detective Joe Starr. Before long the town is buzzing with news of a murder and it’s up to Mo LoBeau and her friend Dale (a.k.a the Desperado Detectives) to crack the case.
Themes/Content: Detectives, murder, family, friendship, orphans, hurricanes, restaurants, first person narratives, kidnapping, voice, small town life, read aloud, NASCAR, humor, abuse, dialogue, word choice
Recommended for: Grades 5 and up, readers who like mystery, readers who like action and adventure, readers who like a funny story, read aloud, discussing word choice, reader’s theater
My Two Cents: Yet another terrific novel to add to my summer reading list! Turnage has concocted a cast with just the amount of quirkiness that you’d expect from a small town. Their names alone will catch your attention (Moses LoBeau, The Colonel, Miss Lana, Lavender Macon, Thessolonians…) All of the town seems to meet and eat in the “café” and you’ll get caught up in their sometimes-casual, sometimes-chaotic lives.
There are also serious aspects to the story, however. Mo has started a “message-in-a-bottle” campaign to find her “upstream mother” who lost Mo during a hurricane. There is also an actual murder, and kidnapping, and there are dangerous criminals in their midst. At times the story seem humorous and light only to turn introspective or dangerous. Turnage is able to successfully work these conflicting emotions into a believable and balanced tale.
Not only would this book make a wonderful read aloud, I think it would be an excellent choice when talking about word choice and author’s craft in writing.
Similar/Paired Books from EHUE Library:
- Barnett, Mac. It happened on a train. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2011. Print.
- Boraas, Tracey. Police detective. Mankato, Minn.: Capstone Books, 2000. Print.
- Fleischman, Paul. The Dunderheads behind bars. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2012. Print.
- Giff, Patricia R. Hunter Moran saves the universe. New York: Holiday House, 2012. Print.
- Horowitz, Anthony. South by southeast : a Diamond brothers mystery. New York: Puffin Books, 2005. Print.
- Lane, Brian. Crime & detection. London: DK, 2005. Print.
- Montgomery, Monte. Kid confidential : an insider’s guide to grown-ups. New York: Walker, 2012. Print.
- Pullman, Philip. Two crafty criminals! : and how they were captured by the daring detectives of the New Cut Gang. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. Print.
- White, Ruth. Way Down Deep. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007. Print.
Favorite Quote: “Dale can choose not to worry like he chooses not to wear socks. Miss Lana says I have more of a Jack Russell brain. I think things apart for sport.” (Turnage, Sheila. Three times lucky. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012. 237. Print.)
Final Word(s): Three thumbs up! Great mystery, fun read! 😀