HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Mystery of the Laughing Cat: Ten Commandments Mysteries, Book 1
Author: Elspeth Campbell Murphy
Illustrator: Chris Wold Dyrud
Publisher: Chariot Family Pub., 1988
Language level: 1
(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 7-10
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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Murphy, Elspeth Campbell. The Mystery of the Laughing Cat: The Ten Commandments Mysteries, Book 1 (Published in 1988 by Chariot Books, an imprint of David C. Cook Publishing Co., Elgin, IL 60120). Sarah-Jane (S.-J.) and her cousins, Timothy (Tim) and Titus (Ti) are being taken to the flea market by her dad. There they learn that a coin dealer has just had some of his best rare coins stolen. S.-J. purchases a figurine of a laughing cat for $3.00. While the saleslady is looking for a bag to put it in, a woman comes up and asks to buy the cat. She is told that it is sold and angrily huffs away. The children find out that the cat is really a bank and hear something clinking around inside it.
While Ti is looking for comic books and Tim for buttons, the woman returns and offers S.-J. $6.00 for the cat, but S.-J. says no. The woman keeps following them around and later actually tries to steal the cat. What does she want with it? Why does she continue to follow the kids? And what is in the cat? The Mystery of the Laughing Cat is Book 1 of ten in the Ten Commandments Mysteries Series. This series highlights the meaning behind the Ten Commandments couched in an enjoyable mystery series for kids. As the three cousins figure out this mystery at the flea market, they learn about the commandment “You shall not steal.”
The series includes books at about first grade independent reading level, and younger, ages 2-5, for read aloud. At the end of this book, the three cousins form the T.C.D.C. (that’s the Three Cousins Detective Club). Author Elspeth Campbell Murphy went on to write the exciting Three Cousins Detective Club Series of thirty chapter books for readers ages 7-10 that feature the further escapades of the famous detective-cousins Timothy, Titus, and Sarah-Jane, beginning with The Mystery of the White Elephant, which I have read and reviewed. While the three cousins are solving mysteries, they’re also learning about living God’s way.