[Book Review] The Panda Puzzle (A to Z Mysteries, #16) by Ron Roy


There's pandemonium in Green Lawn! The town is building a new park for a panda and her baby. But as soon as the pandas arrive, the baby is stolen! All the panda-nappers want in return is a million dollars... Can Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose collar the culprits before Green Lawn has to cough up the cash?

In The Panda Puzzle, Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose are back in Green Lawn for the first time since The Lucky Lottery, and there are two other new arrivals to the town: a mama-and-baby set of pandas named Ping and Winnie. But the little cub is only in town for a single day before he's kidnapped for a million dollar ransom.

Roy gives his readers three suspects this time around:
  • Irene Napper, a petting zoo employee
  • Tom Steele, the editor of The Panda Paper
  • Flip Frances, whose grandmother's fortune financed the construction of the "Panda Park"

Meanwhile, Nate Hathaway, Bradley Pinto, and Brian Pinto, the four-year-old younger siblings of Ruth Rose and Josh,  feature prominently in the book, though they don't get in on the crime-solving shenanigans.

Once again, it's a bit of a far-fetched premise (Are there really enough pandas in the world that some random petting zoo in Nowhere, Connecticut gets to have their own mother-and-cub pair? And why would anyone ransom a panda cub instead of selling it?), but not in a way that the young children it's intended for should recognize. To a five-year-old, I'm sure it'll just come across as a fun mystery a couple of cute pandas.

On nostalgia alone, I highly recommend the A to Z Mysteries series to young readers.

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