Monday, November 15, 2021

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday # MMGM Book Review: The Backyard Secrets of Danny Wexler by Karen Pokras

Eleven-year-old Danny Wexler is growing up in a factory town during the late 1970s. His days are spent going to school, taking piano lessons, playing kickball, and hanging out with his friends. Danny has a Super-Secret Spy Notebook where he jots down mysteries he's trying to solve- like if his piano teacher is part tarantula. He's had a lot to add to his notebook recently, especially with all the reports of a white van approaching children in local towns. People are talking. Danny and his best friends, Frank and Nicholas, have a theory about the van and missing children. They know the Bermuda Triangle is involved. It has to be! They've read all about it in one of Frank's encyclopedias. Their investigation into the possible white van suspects leads them to theories about werewolves and aliens. Will they be able to solve the mystery of the white van? Is Danny's piano teacher part spider? Does the Bermuda Triangle have a role in what is happening? You'll have to try to piece together the clues with Danny to see how it all turns out!

I have read and enjoyed other books by Karen Pokras, so I was excited to get my hands on a brand new copy of The Backyard Secrets of Danny Wexler. I'm a big fan of historical fiction and mysteries, so this was a winning combination for me. Danny and his friends may have been growing up in the 1970s, but they were still easy to relate to, and I loved Danny's Super-Secret Spy Notebook. I definitely know how important it is to keep track of clues. It's amazing what you can notice when you keep a list of the facts. I liked the way aliens and the Bermuda Triangle were explained. I asked my mom about the Bermuda Triangle, and she told me when she was growing up she worried about the disappearances there. I definitely need to learn more about that area. I felt sorry for Danny as he dealt with struggles with friends. It's never easy to have problems with our friends, and watching the way some people were treating him because of his religion was really sad. I'd recommend this book to kids in third grade and up who like mysteries, realistic fiction, and history woven together. I look forward to reading more books by Karen Pokras and hopefully Danny and friends will have another mystery to solve.

Has anyone else read The Backyard Secrets of Danny Wexler? Or have you read another book by Karen Pokras? We'd love to hear your thoughts!

Happy Reading!
~L

For other MMGM posts, please visit Greg Pattridge's blog.

48 comments:

  1. This sounds like fun! Hugs, Valerie

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  2. I like historical fiction and mysteries too. This sounds like a story I'd like. Thanks for sharing t this week.

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    1. Natalie- This is perfect for fans of fiction and mysteries. Enjoy! :) ~L

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  3. So glad you both like the book, too! :) It was a fun, zany, and heartfelt adventure with a richer layer of meaning to it. Plus, the 1970s are my period that I grew up in, too! Was a hoot to relive so many vintage references. Congrats again, Karen!

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  4. As a fellow keeper of a super-secret spy notebook (when I was 11-12) I know I'm going to have to read this book! Thanks for your wonderful review.

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    1. Sue- Super-secret-spy- notebooks are the best! I have one too. :) ~L

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  5. It does sound great. Thank you for featuring it.

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    1. EC- Thanks for stopping by! It's a great read! :) ~L

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  6. Who wouldn't love a Super Secret Spy Book?😍 Hugs,RO

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  7. I've not read this one but your review has me placing it high on my future read list. Love stories set in the 70s and Danny sounds like a memorable character. Thanks for featuring on MMGM.

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    1. Greg- Yay! I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!
      ~L

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  8. What a fun book to read! Never thought to keep a spy book -- and I loved mysteries. I shudder when I hear about the 1970s as historical fiction -- I just graduated from college in 73' and it seems like yesterday. I was a newspaper reporter and I loved my work. :)

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    1. Patricia- I thought this was a really fun book. For those who know the 1970s firsthand I think this book will be extra enjoyable. :) ~L

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  9. This sounds like a great read! I really need to read some more mysteries (since I love them!), and this one sounds quite exciting. I love the idea of Danny's spy notebook! Thanks so much for the great review, Lizzy! ;)

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    1. Max- You are welcome! So glad you enjoyed the review! :) ~L

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  10. Thanks so much for reviewing The Backyard Secrets of Danny Wexler and thanks to everyone for the kind comments!

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    1. Karen- So happy to share this awesome book with others! :) ~L

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  11. Many thanks for featuring this book, sounds good.

    All the best Jan

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  12. I have been hearing about this book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I will try to check it out.

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    1. Rosi- I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! :) ~L

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  13. Haven't read these but they sound like great reads.

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    1. Sandra- I really enjoyed this book. :) ~L

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  14. This sounds like a really neat book! Thanks for telling us about it.

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  15. It sounds like an interesting story. And funny.

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    1. Romance Book Haven- I really enjoyed this book~ :) ~L

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  17. I'm always on the hunt for a good middle grade story. Thanks.

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    1. Lee- You are welcome. Happy Reading! :) ~L

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  18. This sounds like a great middle-grade story that even boys would like.

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    1. Sherry- Definitely. It's a great middle grade book that will appeal to all! :) ~L

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  19. This book seems very interesting. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Love Affair w/Food- Happy to let you know about it. :) ~L

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  21. Sounds really interesting!! send you hugs and love !!

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  22. This looks like a great read - I have 2 middle grade readers right now, so I'm going to tell them about it.

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    1. Lisa- I really enjoyed it. I hope if either of them pick this one up that they enjoy it too! :)
      ~L

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