Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Janet Tashjian
Illustrator: Laurie Keller
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Marty Frye is no ordinary young boy. He’s a private detective who solves mysterious crimes. From helping a classmate, a store owner, and his own sister, Marty’s detective skills are well-known and trusted. Not only does he solve crime, but he does it with rhyme. With a love of poetry, this crime fighting detective speaks in rhymes while he solves crimes. With a missing diary, missing action figures, and missing flour, Marty has a lot of work to do before it’s bedtime.
There is little we know about Marty Frye—he’s a detective, he likes poetry, and he eats a lot of snacks. This lack of character development takes away from the story, making it hard to relate to Marty. Another major thing lacking from the story is a clear setting; the town and school remain unnamed. Aside from those weaknesses, Marty Frye has a lot of strengths. The mysteries are always misunderstandings rather than true crimes, making these very kid-friendly, funny stories. The illustrations add so much to the story, giving the reader images of what every character looks like and showing the reader the different clues that Marty finds. Each page is full of pictures and word bubbles, making it a quick and fun read.