Code breaker by Sally Rippin

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A Billie B Mystery. Ill. by Aki Fukuoka. Egmont, 2013. ISBN 9781742976525.
(Age: 8-10) Recommended. Secret Clubs. Mysteries. Friends. Sally Rippin is an author who really understands and engages with her reading audience. Her new mystery series follows Billie B Brown and her friends Jack, Mika and Alex as they start up their Secret Mystery Club and work to solve neighbourhood mysteries. These books are written for fans that have enjoyed reading the Billie B Brown beginning chapter books and the Hey Jack series and are now looking for a more challenging read as they grow up. On Sally's blogspot, she comments that the books will be triple the length of the existing Billie books with a much more complex writing style and story structure for older readers.
Code breaker begins with Billie and her friend Jack receiving a mysterious coded letter. When the friends meet up at recess the next day they are excited to have a case to solve. Jack's letter is written in Japanese and Mika translates the haiku that provides the hiding place for another clue. Billie's feelings are a little hurt as each clue is written to challenge the strengths of the other club members. In the background family life and school life continues, however there is something secretive happening with their parents as well. All is revealed in the end with an exciting surprise for the club members.
Aki Fukuoka's graphic illustrations bring to life Billie and her friends' characters, adding fun to Sally Rippin's novels. The font size is still large with some use of bold text to emphasize feelings. This series is a great extension for the Billie B Brown fans and is recommended for students from 8-10 years of age.
Aki's Art .
Sally Rippin's webpage.
Rhyllis Bignell