HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Case of the Wandering Weathervanes: A McGurk Mystery
Author: E. W. Hildick
Illustrator: Denise Brunkus
Publisher: Troll Communications LLC, republished 1990
ISBN-13: 978-0027439700 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0027439704 Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0816717903 Paperback
ISBN-10: 0816717907 Paperback
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 9-12
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Hildick, E. W. The Case of the Wandering Weathervanes: A McGurk Mystery (Published in 1988 by Macmillan Publishing Company Inc., 866 Third Ave., New York City, NY 10022; republished in 1990 by Troll Associates, a division of Troll Communications LLC, Mahwah, NJ 07430). Ten year old Jack P. McGurk operates a junior detective organization made up of several fellow middle school students, including Joey Rockaway who is the secretary and narrates the story. Another member of the organization, “Brains” Bellingham reports that a special electronic weathervane which he invented has been stolen, along with several other weathervanes in the neighborhood. All the evidence seems to support the conclusion that it is just a teenage prank like the kind often perpetrated by Eddie Grieg, the eighteen year old brother of another McGurk associate Wanda Grieg.
But then Eddie disappears. Also, one of the vane owners disappears. And a strange private investigator appears to be interested in the case. What is going on? Is there something more to this than simply a childish joke by high school students? Where are Eddie and the other vane owner? And who took the weathervanes in the first place? What starts out as seemingly a “kids’ story” turns into a serious mystery concerning top secret information that is about to be smuggled into another country by an enemy agent. Other than a couple of euphemisms (heck, gee), there is nothing objectionable.
The Case of the Wandering Weathervanes is the 18th book in this “McGurk Mysteries” Series. All of E. W. Hildicks McGurk mysteries are quite good and very well written. Two admirable qualities are that adults in the community admire these students and cooperate with their investigations, and that these middle school students continually use sound deductive reasoning to solve the case which allows young readers to learn thinking skills while reading for pleasure. Two other McGurk books that I’ve read and reviewed are The Case of the Felon’s Fiddle and The Case of the Nervous Newsboy. This latest McGurk adventure is sure to be popular with mystery fans in elementary grades.