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The Chameleon Wore Chartreuse: A Chet Gecko Mystery
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The Chameleon Wore Chartreuse: A Chet Gecko Mystery (Chet Gecko Mystery #1)

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3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  327 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Chet Gecko loves a good mystery. Almost more than he loves his fee--stinkbug pie.
So when fellow fourth grader Shirley Chameleon asks him to find her missing brother, Billy, Chet expects the case to be as easy a pie. But Billy's disappearance is part of a larger plot, one that involves the Rat Sisters, a riddling junkyard dog, and a vicious Gila monster named Herman. If Ch...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published April 1st 2000)
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Community Reviews

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Savita
These were so funny! I remember staying up late at night to finish this!
Taylor
awsome book
Dolly
Feb 13, 2014 Dolly rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children starting to read chapter books
This is the first book in the Chet Gecko Mystery by Bruce Hale. We've read a few of the books in this series (completely out of order) and both times our girls weren't quite ready for the word play and the style of the storytelling. I have waited a couple of years in between each book for our girls to be old enough to get the humor. Lately we've enjoyed revisiting the series by listening to Jon Cryer narrate the stories aloud on audiobook.

Finally, I think they understand at least most of the pun...more
Jeremy Rice
Wonderful series. A 4th grade wanna be Raymond Chandler/Gecko. It's complete with wild metaphors and smilies--some of which go over the average 3rd or 4th graders head. My classes (3rd and 4th like these books--especially the higher level readers). To be honest though this is one of those books that most kids would probably give a 4 but adults would give a 5. In other words read it aloud and you just may enjoy it more than your kids, and, or students.
Tiffany
This was a very clever, funny tween size mystery. This was not a difficult read and the flow and tempo were perfect for the new-to-mystery reader. I really enjoyed the throw back to tv private eyes with the use of words like dame. I was even impressed that the author used reptiles and birds as the characters that while they had human characteristics they also maintained some of their important characteristics as animals. Fun, fun read.
Ellen
What's not to love about a 4th grade gecko who solves mysteries...Noir style. Really fun for adults and kids. It could be read to children or they could read it themselves. If you're looking for a good mystery, I recommend this.

I listened to the audio and Jon Cryer reads it. He does a great job with all of the voices. I look forward to listening to more of the series.
Tara
Jul 12, 2008 Tara rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 3rd & 4th Graders
A comical parody of dime store gumshoe novels (plus plenty of the grossout factor from bugs and cooties), this first of the
Chet Gecko Mysteries earns my tentative recommendation.

Chet Gecko, 4th grade private eye, is a bug loving, crime solving gecko charged with finding Shirley Chameleon's little brother before the big football game. Chet gets help from Natalie, his Mockingbird friend who's talents come in very handy!

Very funny with tons of cheesy jokes, I can absolutely assure you that several...more
Kristy McRae
We listened to this one on a recent car trip with the kiddos. SO clever and funny! The kids loved the story, and there were so many jokes & hidden references, and plays on words. The kids even got a lot of them, and were laughing almost as much as the two grown-ups!
S
The boy and I read aloud alternating chapters of this funny mystery. He "got" the humor and asked for "just one more" chapter each time...so that makes it a satisfying read for me!
Medford Children's Library
Oct 10, 2007 Medford Children's Library rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 4th grade and up mystery and comedy lovers
Meet 4th grader Chet Gecko, amateur private eye of his elementary school. When he's not eating bugs, he's solving crime. Told in the style of a old detective movie, Chet whips out many funny one liners and word plays (I heard they are even funnier on the book on tape which you can check out in our CD collection). With his partner, a mocking bird with a knack for mimicry, Chet must discover why Shirley's tough first grade brother disappeared before the big football game. A very cheesy mystery (th...more
Melanie
The first in a series of elementary readers. Chet Gecko fancies himself a film noir private eye. He is hired by Shelia the Chameleon to find her brother. Hilarity ensues as Chet gets himself sent to the principal's office on purpose and tries to bribe rats with his lunch. In the end he solves the mystery.

A great read-aloud for families. Get ready to laugh!
Sherry
This first Chet Gecko mystery is a delight! If you have read Hammett's "Maltese Falcon" you understand the lingo and the set-ups and appreciate the talent that went into the parody of the writing style. If you haven't read "...Falcon" (the young audience "...Chameleon" is targeting probably hasn't!), then you'll still enjoy the fast-paced plot and tongue-in-cheek humor (no chameleon-related pun intended, but, hey, that Gecko sure can catch them on the fly)! Kids will love the football game antic...more
Amanda
Not sure what to make of this one. It was fun to read and really short. I actually read it in a few hours. I don't think I would buy this book. But I do plan on reading all the copies at my local library. It's about a gecko that's in 4th grade who is a detective. He is hired by a chameleon to find her brother. He has to find his clues between classes. One of his friends, a mocking bird, becomes his helper. Together they break the case and save the day. It's a children's book and while I did enjo...more
Holly Brown
This book is about a fourth grade boy who is a detective named Chet Gecko. One day, Shirley comes up to Chet asking him to find her brother, Billy, who has mysteriously gone missing.

Although it was pretty weird, this book was also quite humorous. This book kept me laughing the whole time.

This book would be great in getting certain children interested in reading mystery books. This is just one book in a series, so if students are exposed to this book, they may want to check out the other books in...more
Nancy
Cute story with lots of kid humor.
Melanie, Aaron, Annie, and Mary Project
Read by: Annie
Author: Bruce Hale
Genre: Mystery
Interest Level: 3-5
Grade Level Equivalent: 3.7
Lexile: 410L

I want to read the rest of this series! It's pretty funny and very sassy. Chet Gecko is a gecko and a 4th grader, and he speaks like a real 1940s gumshoe. A chameleon in his class hires him to find her missing little brother for the price of some stinkbug pie. Chet partners up with a bird named Natalie and they solve the mystery just in the nick of time.
Julie
This looked like an okay mystery book for young readers that had animals (and information about different bugs, rodents, etc) rather than people but here is what I wasn't too impressed about: references to monster, bogeyman, male character ego, and slang and disrespectful dialog between characters. That is what I got from chapter one...

My son enjoyed reading it but I think I'll try to encourage something of greater value in the future.
Matthew
I can't help but love this story. Chet Gecko is just plain funny, beginning to end. His gum-shoe detective work is wonderfully oddball and funny in a way that few books maintain so consistently. Natalie, his sleuthing partner, is cheesy and brilliant and he is so in love with private-eye motif that you can't help but love him. Great book, so long as you don't take yourself too seriously to get caught up in the fun.
Talia
Chet Gecko is a small time detective in his elementary school. Shirley Chameleon asks Chet to find her missing brother, which leads to a larger plot involving the football game.

If you love cheesy, corny puns and jokes, you will love this! The story was alright, but the jokes make up for it. Jon Cryer (Duckie from Pretty in Pink) reads this on disk, and he does a great job!
Patti
The first Chet Gecko book I read. HI-LAR-I-OUS!! He does the dime detective novels justice in these Chapter Book novels. Get a load of some of these names of characters: Natalie Attired (his partner in crime solving), Mr. Zero (the Principal), Barb Dwyer (a character in a book I'm reading now). I am always pleased by the ending. And the mystery is always spun nicely throughout the book.
Heidi
This is such a cute book. I knew the series would be just from the hilarious titles. The younger audience probably won't get all of the humor because how many of them watch the old black-and-white detective movies? But it is still funny and easy for them to read. And not annoying for the adults to read, either. I found myself laughing out loud a few times. It was great!
Clint
The book's written for low-level readers, but the humor seems far above what the targeted readers would get. There are several references to older classic crime fiction that would be lost on the kids. For me though, these extra little details are what made the book so fun. I think I'll be checking out the rest of this series some time in the future.
Jen
This is the first book in a series about a private gecko detective. He's a school boy, and he channels Philip Marlow like only a gecko can. Lots of humor, some perfect for the elementary school set for which it's written, but also lots of humor for the grownups, which I imagine goes completely over the heads of the younger readers.
Traci Melly
This is a cute little series to read with your 3rd and 4th graders that is hilarious. I like to read them aloud to my husband during road trips while he's driving. I wonder if their intended audience gets all the humor in them? Or maybe I just like little kid humor?
Laura
Smart-alecky fun featuring a hard-boiled, fourth-grade gecko gumshoe.
A favorite description: "I slipped inside and eyeballed the dark classroom. It hadn't changed much in the years since I'd been there. It still smelled of chalk, and fear, and stale graham crackers."
Megan
Jan 05, 2008 Megan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children in 2nd-4th grade
I love this book. My dad gave it to me so I have very fond memories of it. I just recently re-read it and I think it is a fantastic book for children in the 2nd to 4th grade area. Definitely suggest this to younger children, I think it will be very much enjoyed.
Libby Ames
The idea of this one was so clever, but I'm afraid it fell flat. It is written for a younger age group and my little ones listened for a while, but lost interest. For me, the dialogue was so juvenile and the puns so painful that I had to stop a few chapters in.
Brett
The mystery story line was really secondary to the humor, which was fantastic & dead-on, although I fear it could be lost on its target audience. A perfect sendup of the "hard-boiled" gumshoe genre.
Linda
THis kid's book is a spoof of hard-boiled detective fiction. The detective is a lizard who's in fourth grade. I'm not sure how much of it kids would get, but I thought it was really funny.
Kristi
There are lots of jokes in this children's book written in an amusing film noir mystery style. A really fun series that has the main character eating bug sandwiches.
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174704
A serious book addict, Bruce wanted to be a children's book author since he was in 4th grade (right after he got over wanting to be a pirate, Tarzan, and Daniel Boone). Today he's the author-illustrator of nearly 30 seriously funny books for kids, so some dreams do come true.

The Malted Falcon, one of his Chet Gecko Mysteries series, was an Edgar Award finalist, and Murder, My Tweet won a Little D...more
More about Bruce Hale...
Snoring Beauty Clark the Shark The Mystery of Mr. Nice: A Chet Gecko Mystery Farewell, My Lunchbag The Big Nap: A Chet Gecko Mystery

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