Publishers Weekly Review
Ten-year-old Charlie is used to being abandoned by his parents, who spend more time on trips saving animals than with Charlie. This time Charlie is being left with his equally neglectful grandparents, who prefer watching TV to grandparenting, in Castle-on-Hudson, a quirky town in New York. But next could be boarding school, so Charlie begins a campaign to persuade his grandparents to let him stay for good. At the town library, Charlie meets Aggie, an elderly Deaf woman who is being pursued by two mysterious men. Aggie attempts to convey an important message to Charlie in sign language before she escapes her pursuers; concerned, Charlie sets out on a mission to find her. On his quest, he meets Frog, a Deaf girl whose family owns the Castle School for the Deaf. Exuberant, fearless Frog, who wants to be a detective, is a worthy foil for cautious Charlie as they begin following clues to uncover the mystery of Aggie and the book she had been searching for. Kane¿s debut, a light and engaging mystery, takes on added depth through its focus on the Deaf community. Charlie longs for kinship with others; intriguingly, it¿s through learning sign language that he finds friendship and connection. Ages 8¿12. (Apr.)
Library Journal Review
Gr 5-8-Charlie Tickler is once again abandoned by his globe-trotting parents. This time they're off to South Africa in search of giant golden moles. They usually leave him with a nanny, but this time he is sent away to his grandparent's in Castle-on-the Hudson, a Victorian resort town with a real castle. While exploring the town, Charlie visits the library, where an agitated old woman mysteriously disappears after trying to confess something dire to Charlie in sign language. Charlie smells a mystery and is told to enlist the aid of Francine "Frog" Castle, an expert detective-in-training who is Deaf and uses American Sign Language (ASL). Charlie and Frog work together to find out who the mysterious old lady is and why two men are trying to find her as well. Enduring a whole host of adventures, including shaky gondola rides across a river, meeting an odd fortune-teller, and exploring a creepy graveyard, the two must put together a set of clues, including a mysterious gravestone cipher. This fast-paced tale features a host of offbeat characters. Kane, who has worked as an ASL interpreter for the Deaf community, warmly depicts Frog's fluent signing and Charlie's efforts to learn the language. VERDICT In addition to a fun-filled adventure, Kane's novel explores the difference between hearing and truly listening. A strong secondary purchase or for larger collections.-Carol Connor, Cincinnati Public Schools, OH © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Charlie Tickler knows that his parents care more for animals than they do for him, but it's still a sore spot. He feels even worse when they take a trip to South Africa (moles need their help!) and leave him with his disinterested grandparents in Castle-on-the-Hudson, an isolated town with a large Deaf community. Yet, Charlie's lonely summer transforms into one of excitement and belonging after Aggie, an old lady he meets at the library, goes missing. His investigation leads him to Frog a spirited deaf girl who dreams of becoming a detective and the two team up to crack the mystery of Aggie's disappearance and unravel its connection to a local mystery writer. The mystery here is entertaining, but what makes the book unique is its positive and thorough incorporation of Deafness. Kane is a graduate of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, and she seamlessly integrates American Sign Language and deaf characters into the story, subtly reminding readers that these are capable, complete individuals. A worthy addition to mystery collections.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2018 Booklist