Joey Fly, Private Eye by Aaron Reynolds with illustrations by Neil Numberman - Book Review

Older readers and graphic novel lovers will find a lot to like in Joey Fly, Private Eye in Creepy Crawly Crime. Told with the style and verve of hard-boiled detective fiction, Joey Fly, Private Eye in Creepy Crawly Crime has all the traditional fittings of the genre. There’s the cocky assistant, Sammy Stingtail. There’s the curvaceous dame in distress, Delilah. There’s even the gritty street scenes of a city painted in shadow.

It seems Delilah has lost her precious diamond pencil box and she wants to hire Joey to find it. But as Joey and his new assistant will find out, not all is what it seems with this femme fatale.

Joey Fly, Private Eye's tongue-in-cheek style and witty rhetoric offers many great opportunities for the classroom as well. As with most mystery fiction, there are abundant sections for prediction and detail identification. Though the book is labeled for grades 4-6, it is, perhaps, better suited for an older student or stronger reader who can appreciate the countless examples of figurative speech. The worry with this sort of story is whether the young reader will “get it”  and average readers in 4th - 5th grade would certainly need a fair deal of support. However, I'd never want to sell my students short and Joey Fly, Private Eye in Creepy Crawly Crime is certainly a classroom keeper.

Recommended for strong readers, middle school students and lovers of the graphic novel format. Also great for inclusion in science classes or during a lesson on insects.

Here's a taste of what readers are in for:

-------------------- Teaching Resources --------------------
Genre: Graphic Novel, Mystery. Age: 9-12. Pages: 96.
Thank You to Mr. Reynolds for my copy.
Publisher: Henry Holt Date: April 2009.
ISBN-13: 978-0805082425
Buy Joey Fly, Private Eye in Creepy Crawly Crime Here

Discussion Questions: Though not divided into specific sections, the story has some definite scene changes that make for perfect stopping/discussion points.

Section page 1 – 27: What is a private eye?
Why does Joey hire Sammy Stingtail?
Why is Sammy Stingtail so clumsy?
Section page 28 – 39: Why is Joey Fly so interested in talking to Gloria?
What do you think Gloria will say when Joey confronts her?
Section page 40-51: Why does Joey Fly suspect Delilah is not telling the truth?
What does he do about it?
Section page 52 – 67 Predict what happened between Delilah, Gloria and Flittany.
What does Flittany eat?
What will happen when Delilah, Flittany and Gloria get together?
Section page 68 – 96 Make a sequence chart of what exactly happened at the party and afterwards until Delilah hired Joey Fly.

Vocabulary: chump (8)  muggy (9)  arachnid (10)  exoskeleton (10)  clumsiest (12)  invertebrate (12)  parched (13)  expressions (19)  molt (20)  compelled (25)  annoyance (25)  accusation (25)  stampede (31)  dung beetle (31)  hunch (31)  heave (33)  gargantuan (40)  appetizers (45)  antennae (51)  stagnant (56)  dame (57)  unkink (59)  centipedes (63)  caterpillar (63)  stench (66)  cattail (66)  lingo (70)  spasm (70)  agility (74)  dramatic effect (75)  horrendous (76)  cicada (77)  venom (78)  mandibles (81)  kamikaze 981)  savoring (83)  stupor (84)  duo (85)  parasite (85)  larvae (86)  steroids (91)  skulking (93)

You can follow Joey Fly or  Sammy Stingtail on Twitter!

Aaron Reynolds is a human, not a bug, but he often writes about bugs. He is the author of Chicks and Salsa, Superhero School, Buffalo Wings, and, of course, the Joey Fly, Private Eye graphic novels. You can read more about him and his other books on his awesome website.

Neil Numberman is a termite currently residing in New York City. Joey Fly, Private Eye is his first graphic novel, but he is also the author/illustrator of the picture book Do NOT Build a Frankenstein. Stop by his website.

Oh Wait!  If all this greatness wasn't enough, author Aaron Reynolds also sent along some cool cutouts for your students. Just click on the picture to enlarge it, then right click, choose "save picture as."



© 2007-2009 Cheryl Vanatti.

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