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The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit (Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective #1)

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  227 ratings  ·  78 reviews
Meet Randi Rhodes, the world's first ninja detective! Mystery abounds in this delightful new middle grade series from Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer.

Deer Creek is a small town whose only hope for survival is the success of their Founder's Day Festival. But the festival's main attraction, a time capsule that many people believe hold the town's treasure, has g
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published September 1st 2013)
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Spencer's book is an excellent middle school mystery. Twelve-year-old Randi Rhodes is the daughter of a popular mystery writer. Her mother has recently passed away. Randi is upset and resentful when her father decides they should move from New York to his small Tennessee hometown.
Randi, without her father's knowledge, has acted as a sleuth solving small mysteries in her old neighborhood. The only excitement in the new town is the upcoming Founder's Day Festival at the center of which will be the
I read this right after Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead. Both are aimed at age groups 8-12. I thought it would be very interesting to hear the writing voice of the versatile actress Octavia Spencer, and it was a fun mystery, well written and cleverly put together.
However, when held up against the power & messages in Liar and Spy, there is just no comparison; though Spencer's book deals with similar issues, Liar and Spy wholly eclipses the Ninja Detective; stylistically and emotionally how
Dawn Teresa
Originally published on my blog, ReadLove .

Randi Rhodes doesn’t want to leave Brooklyn — the neighborhood needs her! Operating anonymously under the name Glenn Street (the fictional heroine of her father’s popular mystery series), she’s been solving crimes considered too petty for the police. As the book opens, we witness Randi on stakeout waiting to catch a garden thief in the act with a tulip-planted trap.

Randi’s mother has recently died. Life hasn’t been the same for her and her father who a
After the death of Randi’s mother, she and her father move from Brooklyn, NY, to Deer Creek, TN. 12 year old Randi, whose interests lean to detective work and Bruce Lee martial arts, definitely doesn’t want to go. However, Deer Creek has some mysteries of its own—is the president really coming to visit, who stole the 200 year old time capsule from the town square, what and where is the town treasure, and what about that ghost in the old McCarthy cabin just outside of town? Together with some new ...more
This was a cute little mystery for kids with a strong female lead. Recommended.
Not a bad start. Randi is a little displaced as she leaves the city life for a much simpler place and time..... Deer Creek. She thinks it's a small town bumpkin of a town with the only think to do is nothing. Little does she know that it's that town that leads her to her new best friend D.C. and together, they form The Ninja Detectives. The biggest case to solve is who stole the time capsule? With the presidents imminent arrival, it has to be found. Otherwise Founder's Day will be cancelled and ...more
Chelsea Cleek
Randi, a 12 year old girl, who is a detective for her street in Brooklyn. Then she finds out that she has to move to deer creek Tennessee and isn't all to happy. When she first moves she thinks her life is over and then she finds out that Deer Creek has some mysteries to be solved. Her and her new friend, D.C., are trying to solve the case of the missing time capsule before the whole town is sold.

This book was written with much creativity. It deals with some issues that children face such as mo
Randi reluctantly moves to Deer Creek from New York with her father a year after her mother's death. She resents leaving her home and the neighborhood where she has anonymously solved 32 cases. Deer Creek seems boring at first until the time capsule buried 200 years earlier that the town plans to open for anniversay celebration goes missing. Randi jumps at the chance to use her detective skills to find it. Despite the interference of her father and the new housekeeper that Randi resents, she man ...more
Feb 02, 2014 Kate rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 4th-6th graders
A bit formulaic, it was still a pretty good read and mystery. The characters were good although some are stereotypes. It also felt as though the main characters were created to fit every bill -- a white girl with single father (and dead mother) and Asian nanny/housekeeper, "olive-toned" boy with single mom (and absent dad), African-American boy with siblings and both parents. Mystery was predictable but would likely appeal to intended ages.

No resources mentioned for the "ninja" tasks at the end.
This book is a perfect blend of popular literature with intermediate grade kids. Randi, who has lost her mother to cancer, is a smart butt-kicking detective. Move her to a small town with a big mystery and the story engages readers the whole way through. It has the drama that kids love these days, in both Randi's loss and her new friend's disability. But it also has mystery, adventure, and a reported ghost. The extras online are a lot of fun for the kids as well. My son is hoping this is the fir ...more
Karen Maurer
Lots of relocation books out there. Our heroine and her father - newly grieving the loss of their Mom in the family - move to their summer home in the mountains of NC where Randi and her new friend DC witness the theft of the town's time capsule. Detective work ensues. Spencer has a list of Ninja Tasks at the end of the book and refers to them in the body of the book. The task include such odd challenges as getting rid of skunk smell, making plaster casts of paw or foot prints, picking footprint ...more
When Octavia Spencer spoke during the BookExpo America Children's Author Breakfast, she introduced us to her new book as one where she strived for diverse characters. Given the latest push for diverse books, I would definitely place this book on a list of those that feature diverse characters. With a red-haired heroine with a single parent, (an Hispanic?) side-kick with hearing aids, an Asian housekeeper/nanny, a female sheriff, and an African American new friend, there is diversity everywhere. ...more
Randi Rhodes loves to think of herself as a ninja detective. Just like Glenn Street, the heroine in her father’s detective novels, Randi spends all her spare time solving petty crimes in her Brooklyn neighborhood. When her father relocates the two of them to quiet, rural Deer Creek, TN, Randi is afraid she’ll be bored without any crimes to solve. But when the town’s time-capsule goes missing, Randi and her new friends Dario “DC” Cruz and Pudge Taylor take it upon themselves to find out who the b ...more
Miss Pippi the Librarian
Randi Rhodes is proud of her sleuthing that she employed as a detective in her Brooklyn neighborhood. Unfortunately, case number thirty-two is her last. Her father is moving the family - Randi and himself - to Deer Creek, Tennessee. From the hustle and bustle urban life to country living in a resort town. The biggest news is the celebration of Founders' Day and the opening of the 200 year old time-capsule. But boring small-town life quickly turns exciting when the historic time-capsule goes miss ...more
Stephanie Cover2CoverBlog
Randi Rhodes is the only child of author Herb Rhodes, the mastermind behind the great detective series staring Glenn Street; so it isn’t surprising that Randi herself aspires to be a great detective.

After the passing of her mother, and her father giving up his writing for a while; they move to the small town of Deer Creek where a mystery has occurred, the time-capsule has gone missing. Randi is determined to show her father that she is no longer a baby and that she can help the town solve this
Ms. Yingling
Randi's father, who writes detective novels, decides to move from New York City to the mountains of Tennessee after the death of Randi's mother from cancer. Randi loves to investigate small crimes in her urban neighborhood, so is not happy about the move, or about the fact that her father isn't writing. When they get to the small town of Deer Creek, they find it is celebrating it's 200th birthday by uncovering a time capsule that the founders buried, and it is to be opened by none other than the ...more
Octavia Spencer, Academy Award-winner of The Help, started writing this book 13 years ago. Her Hollywood mentor, Sandra Bullock, gave it a read and encouraged her to seek a publisher. With her new stardom, she found a contract with Simon & Schuster, and the second in the series will follow shortly.
Scooby Do enthusiasts will recognize the formulaic plot -- those meddlesome kids, bad guys in suits, the secret treasure and the wholesome reward at the end. The chapters are peppered with inconsi
I'd give it 3.5 stars.

Rhandi Rhodes and her father, still struggling to get over the death of her mother and learn how to connect with each other, move from her beloved NYC to a small, rural town in Tennessee. Adventure awaits PI-savvy Rhandi as there is much more to this town than meets the eye.

As others have stated, the multi-cultural characters are great, and they blend seamlessly without making an issue of race or culture, just kids feeling each other out and getting to know one another. Ge
Jennifer Clausen-greene
Cute book filled with lots of action and keeps you engaged. I did think the author maybe tried a little too hard in making sure the book covered so many ethnic groups and trying to be "true" to their background, but overall it worked pretty good. The characters are solid and change in time as you would expect as the story progresses. Really thought my daughter could relate to the plot too; middle school characters searching for their identity and trying to find out who they are in life and how t ...more
Keri Payton
When Randi Rhodes moves from adventurous New York City to Deer Creek, she doesn’t expect to stumble across any mysteries worthy of her ninja detective skills. Yet it isn’t long before Deer Creek’s Time Capsule goes missing at a crucial point that could mean a terrible loss for the town if it isn’t recovered in time.

Determined to solve the case, Randi leaps into action with the aide of her new friend, D.C., to discover the perpetrator and bring them to justice. There’s something hidden in the his
Harry Brake
Jul 03, 2013 Harry Brake rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Drama, Mystery, and thriller lovers.
Recommended to Harry by: Octavia Spencer!
The depth of a Middle School novel, coupled with the depth of a star that does things that keep her grounded help says how much character Octavia Spencer's book actually contains. When I was lucky enough to have her sign a copy of this book for me, let alone getting a copy, as well as hearing her speak about the process that went into this, you realize what a gem you have on your hands. The awesome but true appendix at the end, the complicated period where students struggle with identifying thei ...more
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
I usually approach books written by celebrities with a bit of trepidation. More often than not, I don’t even bother reading them — just waiting for others’ reactions. But for some reason, I got a positive vibe from the galley. Perhaps because its multi-ethnicity cast portrayed and neatly presented on the cover? My gut feelings proved to be not that wrong. Much like what Spencer enjoyed reading as a child (Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown,) the story is just complex enough to keep the readers’ i ...more
Girl who just lost mother moves to small-town and tries to solve a mystery. She makes friends with a Spanish hard of hearing boy. It's a genuine mystery with action and lively characters. There was enough intrigue and suspects where you could try to figure it out yourself or just sit back and enjoy. Also a side plot was her relationship with her father which had to be adjusted now with her mom gone. This is a good solid read especially for girls, since she is so confident. It's written by Octavi ...more
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a fast-paced mystery that seems to get ahead of itself at times. The story is fun and enjoyable to read, but I found it somewhat predictable. Many of the adults were pretty stereotypical, as were the festival queen and her friends. Randi is a great character, and D.C. and Pudge also have the potential to be strong parts of the ensemble. They deserve more than the cursory backstories they have now. Randi's relationship with her widower dad is also uneven, which is a ...more
I thought from the cover and summary that this book was going to be adventurous and mysterious. And I suppose it was, especially the last third. But it is really about a girl trying to adjust to moving to a small town and trying to get along with her dad after her mom died. I know the first in a series can be slow getting started as the background and characters are established so maybe the next book will be more adventurous.
3.5 stars, 4th&up
After her mother dies, Randi's father stops writing his best selling mystery series, sells their Brooklyn home, loses his sanity (in her opinion), and moves the two of them to the quaint (read "boring") little town of Deer Creek, Tennessee.
Just when Randi's convinced that she's caught a serious case of ennui, a mystery and some new acquaintances have her rethinking her stand on her new hometown.
I admit, I did not read a description before I read this, so I thought it had to do with a time capsule meaning a capsule that traveled in time. Not so. In this case, the time capsule refers to a buried time capsule that is unearthed 100 years after its initial internment to mark the founding of a town. Setting that disappointment aside, the book is simple, and probably fine for its intended target audience.
In the first book of the Ninja Detective series, twelve-year-old Randi reluctantly moves to a small country town with her father, author of a best-selling detective series for children. When the town time capsule is stolen, Randi enlists her only friend to help her find this hidden treasure and save the town. This mystery is a fun quick read and will appeal to ages eight to twelve.
I decided to read this as I saw Octavia Spencer interviewed about the book and she said it was similar to Nancy Drew books, which I LOVED when I was young. I think if I had read this when I was 10, I would have given it 5 stars, but as an adult, naturally it didn't quite make it there, but if you have a child in your life, they might really enjoy this, especially for a summer read.
Octavia Spencer easily creates a heroine in Randi Rhodes. With her head of unruly red curls and her determination to solve the crimes she stumbles upon, boys and girls alike will enjoy following her progress and seeing her transform throughout the novel.

Spencer also does a great job of introducing various characters who may otherwise be considered underdogs but, instead, work with the cards they’re given and come out on top. The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit is as much about solving crimes as
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