Saturday, December 9, 2017

Fall Reading 2017 Frederik Sandwich and the Earthquake that Couldn't Possibly Be


Fans of mystery adventures with memorable characters will have fun with the story of an earthquake that couldn't possibly be. Frederik Sandwich lives on Frederik's Hill, a place where everyone follows the rules. Because his parents were foreigners who moved to the city, Frederik tries extra hard to be good and do what is expected so that everyone will see that he belongs. The problem is that his plan doesn't work and the kids at school tease him about his name, his accent (which he denies having), and anything else they can think of to make his life miserable. When everyone is shaken awake in the middle of the night, the mayor sends out word that there was no earthquake and that no one should mention the word because it might scare visitors away from the upcoming International Festival. Normally Frederik would follow those instructions, but he and a strange girl from his neighborhood discover an odd train that rumbles beneath the city and an odd man who warns them of dangers and zombies down in the train tunnels. Could he be right? Or is he plotting something sinister to ruin the festival and hurt the mayor? They have to find out the truth!

Frederik is a boy swept up into events that are out of his control. He can't stop the neighborhood bullies from picking on him. He can't get any adults to listen to what he has discovered. He can't even get his new friend (the strange girl) Pernille to call him by name; to his annoyance, she calls him things like melon, enchilada, and other food items. Pernille is a very striking person with dark skin and white hair, unlike anyone else in the city - which makes her an outsider like Frederik. She is also convinced that the two of them can solve the mystery and save the day, although it would be easier if they were orphans. "It takes an orphan to solve a mystery, you see. Nobody else will do." Pernille has learned this from reading children's mystery adventure fiction. Between the two of them, readers are pulled along as if they are trapped on one of those trains running beneath Frederik's Hill.

An entertaining mystery perfect for middle grade fans of Lemony Snicket and similar stories of children facing seemingly unbeatable foes. I read an e-book provided by the publisher for review purposes.

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