4 out of 4 stars
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Milton Marsupia, mayor of Washington, asks his cousin, Dr. Marsha, to come from Australia to investigate some missing hot dogs and marshmallows. It's almost July 4th. What's a Fourth of July cookout without hot dogs and marshmallows? Will Dr. Marsha and her team be able to solve the case and save the day?
Dr. Marsha and the Case of the Missing Hot Dogs and Marshmallows (the title is as it appears on the book cover) by Dr. Rachel B. Wellner is a children's mystery. Entertaining and fun, the book teaches children valuable lessons like teamwork and healthy lifestyles. With a fun cast of animal characters, the story is sure to be a hit with children between the ages of 7 and 10.
Dr. Marsha is a doctor who solves mysteries. Her team consists of Louie Llama and Terence Toad, who is obsessed with food. The characters they meet in Washington have similarly alliterative names, which I found fun.
Each page contains both words and a picture. The drawings are colorful and illustrate the text beautifully. This helps children to stay engaged in the book.
The text, a colorful blue, is a bit small but still readable. I loved that it wasn't the standard black, as I thought this was another great way to engage wandering minds. The vocabulary is appropriate for the age group with nothing too advanced.
For the most part, this is not a rhyming story. However, when Dr. Marsha answers the phone, she uses a cute jingle that comes up several times in varying ways within the story. I can picture children repeating this hook or even making it into a song.
I enjoyed the lessons that the book teaches. For example, Dr. Marsha teaches everyone that a balanced diet is best. Still, she also mentions that treats are okay on special occasions.
While the book was edited well, there were a couple of minor issues that I noticed. When going from Australia to Washington, Dr. Marsha's team flies "Air Kangaroo." They appear to travel inside her pouch, but how does she get across the ocean? Plus, though it mentions them "boarding" in her pouch, the picture is of the inside of an airplane. I found this confusing, and I'm sure children would as well. Also, there's a koala pictured in the opening pages who never seems to actually make an appearance in the story.
In summary, Dr. Marsha and the Case of the Missing Hot Dogs is a fun and engaging story with valuable lessons. I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. The issues were minor enough that I didn't think they warranted the removal of a star. I recommend it to families with younger children as well as elementary school teachers.
Dr. Marsha and the Case of the Missing Marshmallows and Hotdogs
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