[Book Review] The Bald Bandit (A to Z Mysteries, #2) by Ron Roy


B is for Bandit...

In the second book of the A to Z Mysteries series, a bandit has robbed the Green Lawn Savings Bank! Dink and his friends Josh and Ruth Rose are ready to help. When a private detective comes to Dink's door looking for the kid who videotaped the crime, the trio volunteers to find him. After all, there's a reward! But tracking down one red-headed kid isn't such an easy job, especially if he doesn't want to be found. Dink and his friends must find that kid—and his tape—before the bandit does!

The Bald Bandit is another fun little mystery in the A to Z Mysteries series, though it's far from the best of the twenty-six books.

While it tells an entertaining story with a twist ending that young children will likely be surprised by--even if their parents aren't--even I, in all my love of the series, have to admit that there's one major flaw of the story: how the heck did these kids get involved in a bank robbery anyway?

It seems like a straightforward enough question to the target audience. Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose got wrapped up in the mystery when a detective came to their door in hopes of finding a lead to the identity of a witness. To an adult, of course, there's more than a bit of Fridge Logic here. Why is the detective asking three children to help him? Why is he asking for help at this particular house, and if he did reach out to other Green Lawn citizens, why does it seem like these three elementary school kids are the only ones who know about the unidentified witness?

Other than the starting point, however, the plot is fairly solid. Unlike most children's mysteries in which the protagonists dive into potentially mortal danger, The Bald Bandit (like The Absent Author before it) even specifically mentions that the children are hiding their activities from their parents so they aren't forced to quit. But perhaps more importantly, the situation is handled properly; when the children unravel the mystery and realize they're in danger, they call the police instead of attempting to handle the criminal themselves (though they do cleverly stall for a scene before the police arrive).

Again, I highly recommend The Bald Bandit and the A to Z Mysteries series to young chapter book readers and mystery fans. It's been a lifelong favorite of mine, and it was definitely one of the series that taught me to love reading; I'd love to know it's doing the same for current and future generations, as well.

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