Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Hardy Boys Clue Book: Splash Pad Sabotage by Franklin W. Dixon

I wish there was a splash pad in our town! The last one we visited...many moons ago...was in a small town in Nebraska at the local zoo. Actually, it's amazing that this size of a town had a zoo, but small towns are full of surprises. Anyway, there was a slushy stand right next to the splash pad, and that rounded a visit off in the best way possible. I don't know if this mystery will have slushies, but it does have bubbles. This one heads toward the chapter book audience and takes a spin off the original, beloved series. I'm excited to see how it does. So let's find out!

by Franklin W. Dixon
Illustrated by Santy Gutierrez
Chapter Book Mystery
93 pages
ages 7 to 10

Detective brothers Frank and Joe stop a splash pad saboteur in the seventeenth book in the interactive Hardy Boys Clue Book series.

Frank and Joe are looking for ways to beat the heat on their summer vacation, so they’re super excited about the opening of Bayport’s new Splash and Dash Pad. But on their second visit, they find that the fountains are overrun with bubbles! The park director announces that the pad will stay closed until he finds the culprit who poured soap down the drains, so the boys pull out their clue book to search for the Bayport Bubbler. Were the kids who wanted a bike ramp instead of a splash pad trying to ruin the opening? Or perhaps this is a publicity stunt to promote Lucy Lafferty’s new bubble lemonade. The suspects are piling up higher than the bubbles, but if anyone can find the sudsy saboteur, it’s the Hardy brothers!



Summer water fun takes a surprising twist and has the Hardy Boys off on another case.

The splash pad is having its grand opening just in time for the summer heat. Almost everyone is excited for the cooling fun, except for a group of boys, who hoped the city would have created a bike park with ramps instead. When the water is turned on, everything looks great...until bubbles spew out and leave the splash pad in a bubbly mess. Someone has sabotaged the new attraction, and the Hardy Boys are determined to find out who it was. While the group of bike boys is high on their list of suspects, soon other possible culprits pop up as well.

The very first sentence already sets the theme of this mystery by showing the excitement surrounding the opening of the splash pad. Anyone who has experienced hot , summer temperatures will completely understand and wish they could jump through the water themselves. When the problem hits, the disappointment is tangible. But readers have to stay on their toes because the first clues have already dropped by then, too. The 'bad guy' need to be caught, but while there is fun tension, it never even stretches the borders of what's appropriate for the intended age group. There is a sense of seriousness as the boys try to figure out what happened, but humor and lighter moments blend in, too. It's a quick-paced read, which is easy to sink into and enjoy.

This is an easy-to-read mystery for those readers who have a good grasp on their words but aren't quite ready to dive into thicker, more intense reads. The sentences are kept short, the font is larger, and illustrations break up the chapters with one or two every few pages. 

This is the 17th book in the series, and the first one for me, which was no problem since each mystery is its own tale. The clues are well laid, the characters entertaining, and the answers not easy to predict. Young mystery fans are sure to enjoy this one quite a bit.

And here they are...

Franklin W. Dixon is the author of the ever-popular Hardy Boys books.

Santy Gutierrez resides in the seaside city of La Coruña, Spain. He has won acclaim as the Best Spanish Young Editorial Cartoonist and Best Galician Caricaturist, among others.

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