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!

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