Thursday, June 18, 2015

Review - The Spaghetti Detectives by: Andreas Steinhöfel

Title: The Spaghetti Detectives
Author: Andreas Steinhöfel
Publisher: Chicken House
Series: Rico & Oskar #1
Pages: 176
Format: Hardcover
Source: Personal purchase

Description:

1 String of Spaghetti + 2 Friends = A Noodle-Cooking, Crime-Solving Adventure!

Sometimes Rico acts a bit odd -- his mom calls him a "proddity" -- but he's GENIUS at noticing little things nobody else does. Like a string of spaghetti stuck to the sidewalk. Or the big buckteeth of that boy in the blue motorcycle helmet. Or the strange behavior of the neighbors in his apartment building.

Oscar is a true prodigy, with a high IQ and high anxieties to match. He's the one who wears the blue helmet -- to protect his precious brain! Oscar may have a lot of book smarts, but he needs Rico's help to face his biggest fears. And when other kids mysteriously start going missing, it's up to the two friends to use their noodles, keep track of the clues, and crack the case!

Funny, sweet, and just the right amount of scary, THE SPAGHETTI DETECTIVES shows how two opposite, seemingly mismatched kids can put their heads together and be better as a pair.

My thoughts:

I love children’s books, and I couldn’t resist diving into Rico and Oskar’s adventures once I read the back cover. I LOVE THESE KIDS! Especially Rico. And, of course, I love Andreas Steinhöfel for creating them and making their storylines so cute and exciting.

Rico is an 11-year-old, “unusual” boy who lives with his mother in Berlin, on 99 Dieffe street. What’s an unusual boy like, you say? Let me tell you: Rico needs to walk in a straight line on the street without entering side streets, he can’t tell left from right so he doesn’t go out much, he can’t remember everything that people tell him, especially when he gets excited, bingo balls start bouncing around in his head and therefore he gets confused.

Rico’s mother has explained his situation to everyone in the building the day they moved into their apartment and everyone is very helpful to him. They even allow him to enter their apartments and look around. There is even a lady whom he watches movies with on some evenings. The adventure begins when Rico finds a macaroni piece on the street. He knocks on almost every door in the building, asking whether what he found is a Rigatoni or something else. Serendipitously, he meets Oskar, who’s super smart and walks around with a helmet because he’s afraid anything might happen to him at any time.

In the meantime, there’s a felon on the loose nicknamed Mister 2000: he kidnaps children and asks for a ransom that’s below the “usual” limit, and is therefore known in the media and in public as the “cheap kidnapper.” Of course, all families and children live in fear of this guy. As poor Rico starts thinking of Oskar as a friend, Oskar is kidnapped by this Mister 2000. His father can’t find the money and alerts the cops, which leads to more chaos.

The way Rico observes the world and tried to make sense of things through the commotion in his head is a delight to read. Yes, it’s a children’s book, but all my guesses about whom Mister 2000 could be turned out to be completely wrong in the end. This is definitely a book that both children and adults can enjoy.