Book Review: Maisy and The Missing Mice by Elizabeth Woodrum

The first book in The Maisy Files series, Maisy and the Missing Mice is a middle-grade (grade 3, perhaps?) mystery that I snagged from Amazon on a day it was being offered for free. It is a quick read (I read it in two very quick sittings) about a fourth grader named Maisy who loves detective work. In this case, there is a missing tooth, a pair of missing mice, and her missing and beloved bag of cherry lollipops.

The author is a teacher, so as I would expect, she did well capturing the voice and concerns of elementary-aged children. It’s a fun mystery that I think young kids would enjoy. What I especially enjoyed was how the protagonist envisioned her world in shades of gray when doing detective work—like the old detective movies she watches. I also appreciate the intelligent female protagonist who is proactive and respected by adults.

What I wished the mystery did more of, however, was show rather than tell. The third-person narrator explained an awful lot, which meant information was not being shown. Showing more would have increased the size of the book and made the reader work a little harder, but I think that would have helped to capture the mind-set of the fourth-grade protagonist a bit more. The only scenes we saw were scenes that had to do with the mystery, giving it a feel of a short story rather than a novel. I would have wanted a few more character-building scenes to help build up foil characters and allow us a closer glimpse into Maisy’s mind. However, since the book seems directed at younger readers, the focused presentation of information may work.