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Trial by Journal

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  1,063 ratings  ·  129 reviews
Get ready for a trial unlike any Tyle County has ever seen. Sixth-grader Perry Keet is missing, and Bob White, his co-worker at Tyle Park Zoo, will stand trial for the alleged murder. But Keet's disappearance is only the beginning of this legal thriller.

The "real" story is told by twelve-year-old Lily Watson, a classmate of Keet's. Watson was selected to White's jury becau
Paperback, 238 pages
Published October 15th 2002 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 2001)
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Average rating 4.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,063 ratings  ·  129 reviews

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Jul 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: the easily amused.
Before it became fashionable for children's books to adopt creative, artsy, and pretentious formats for storytelling, there was Trial By Journal. Assembled from newspaper articles, journal entries, paintings, dry cleaning bills, and transcripts, the novel follows the story of a grisly (or should I say "grizzly"?) murder of a young boy in a small town.

Problem #1 arrives almost immediately. In an effort to be clever, Klise has decided to provide her characters with animal names (thus the "grizzly
Jul 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: just about anybody, really.
Recommended to Dana by: My aunt bought it for me a long time ago.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Readers get an inside peek at a murder trial through the eyes of the first juvenile juror. 6th grader Lily Watson is selected to serve jury duty and as part of her assignment (for missing so much school), she has to keep a daily journal.

The whole town thinks Bob White, the older/creepy man who works at the zoo is to blame, but there's really no evidence, just the word of the town's richest man, Rhett Tyle. As the trial unfolds, Lily begins to doubt Bob White's guilt and does a little sleuthing w
Ashley Sosa
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Trial By Journal by Kate Klise is about a girl named Judy and she missed a lot of assignments at school so the teacher gave her choice to go to summer school or write down in journal like a diary of what happen when she went to trial. I think this book is at a good level for 5th grade to 6th grade. I really enjoy this book it has some challenging words. Anyway I would recommend this to 5th and 6th grade.
Nov 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
read years ago. love her layout. good elementary school read.
Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
love love loved it!!!!!!
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, children
I read this book because it was my girlfriend's favorite book from her childhood, and I found it charming, engaging, and excellent as a middle grade book. It is an intelligent book that both imparts some well-reasoned lessons and information and presents in in a fun, kid-friendly manner.

The book is put together in a variety of pieces of evidence and journal entries, and I while the animal-like names (L. E. Fant, Golden Rey Treevor, Mally Mute) get a little tired pretty early on, I think the nov
Jan 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
This is a real page-turner book! For one thing, it's not the boring-type chapter after chapter book (I don't mean that those books are boring, but a lot of those books are boring, NOT all of them of course). It's a nearly impossible story, but it's very very interesting to guess what comes next in this mystery. Most of the time, I guess incorrectly (unlike SOME books that are so obvious). In this book, I guess why so and so happens and right in the next sentence, it says in plain sight rather th ...more
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this back in elementary, when there really weren't many books to choose from in my library. I wasn't even sure if I wanted to read it because it looked so strange.

I ended up liking it a lot (I don't know why, but that's often the deal with children's books). I like the characters the most, and the way the story is told is funny and sometimes ironic/funny. I ended up reading the others as well because they were so good. The author really knows how to write. (Or at least that's how I remem
Sep 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Just as good as I remembered.
Sydney B
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Trial by Journal is a great example of a children's novel that uses a collective format. With a format reminiscent of My Secret War Diary by Marcia Williams, this book uses personal narration in the form of a journal augmented by newspaper clippings, secret notes, drawings, flyers, tickets, and more.

Readers should not expect this book to be a good representation of the legal process however you can learn more about how trials work. What drew me to Trial by Journal was the subtle humor which eve
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was one of my favorite books as a kid and I still find it absolutely delightful.
Zoem Montanez
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely underrated! I enjoyed reading this book. It reminded of Nancy Drew a lot and a touch of Roald Dahl's creativity! ...more
One of my favorite books as a child, I was very happy to find a copy available to borrow from It's just a little cheesy with the pun names, but its just as fun as I remember. ...more
Claire L
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I actually really enjoyed this book. But the names were kind of annoying. Anna Conda,Leon da Vinci ha. ha. ha.
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Easy read - funny mystery that shows how a jury trial works through journals, illustrations, newspaper articles and court documents.
May 03, 2020 added it
The way the author named the characters was awesome. I liked the story line as well.
May 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Fun middle grade! Cute drawings, cute premise.
Amanda McGill
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I remember loving this novel when I was younger. Thinking about the plot now, it is highly unrealistic, but it was interesting to learn what the jurors on a high profile murder trial go through. I loved Lily and loved the unique writing style of learning about the trial through Lily's journal and newspaper. ...more
Jun 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
I wish that this site would let me give this book 4.5 stars. It was a fun read, and I think that the 9-13 year old set will really enjoy it. The protagonist is engaging, and her journal entries read realistically. Also, I particularly liked the alternating narrative devices -- journal entries, newspaper reports, trail transcripts, illustrations, autobiographical excerpts -- what a clever way to tell a story and introduce information about how a jury trial works! (I wish that I'd thought of it.) ...more
Renee Ruple
Feb 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I love Kate Klise and how she writes her children's book. The way she writes makes the books easy to read and gets younger readers more into reading. I liked this book but I did find that out of all her books this one was a bit harder to fallow and really get into, the idea is great but there is something about the way it comes together seems a bit odd. I love how the story introduces the young reader to a the judicial system, from the view of lily, a young juror (a school aged juror). The writi ...more
Jun 01, 2008 rated it did not like it
I appear to be the only one who didn't enjoy this book. I mostly found it cheesier than necessary. A story told through letters, etc. is a clever idea but I think this time it was a little over done. For one thing, the names of the characters bothered me. I didn't see any point in people having names like "Rhett Tyle" and "Anna Conda". For me, that just made the book cheesier instead of cleverer. I have read some other Klise stuff and one thing KK does in at least 3 of her books is taking some e ...more
Meera K.
Jan 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Written in the form of a last minute research paper, Lily Watson tells her tale as a member of the jury (though she is twelve, there is a new law that states in the event of a child based crime, a child jury member must be present) during a murder case trying to incriminate Bob White of killing twelve year old Perry Keet. Though at first, everyone, including Lily, believes Bob White committed the crime, as the weeks in jury progress, Lily uncovers more facts about the supposed murderer, the vict ...more
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: young with a love of art and mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kendall L
Oct 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Trial by Journal is one of my favorite books. It is by the author Kate Klise who has a unique writing style that I really enjoy. The main character, Lily, has been selected to be on the jury for a major case. Someone has gone missing and the suspect in custody swears that he is innocent. During the trial, Lily keeps a journal. That is the main way that the story is told; through journal entries. The story also has newspaper clippings, transcripts, dry cleaning bills and many other non-convention ...more
Grace Sensenig
Lily Annabelle Wattson is picked to be the jouvinile jurrour for the trial of bob white, someone who was said to have killed an 11 year old boy, while at work in the zoo... Lily is forced by her teachers to keep the journal, or face a whole summer of summerschool.....

lily at first thinks that Bob white is guilty, but after a series of creepy paitings by priscilla the painting gorrilla, she thinks otherwise.

this book was a good book, the thing i liked about it the most, was that it was kept as a
Mar 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Trial by Journal is a unique and creative tale about; as an experiment; a girl is selected for jury duty in a murder trial. The jury itself is wacky, one member being an old actress who secretly goes skinny dipping at night! The trial becomes a huge epidemic, involving a painting gorilla, the paintings she does, and a mysterious zoo keeper who secretly feeds people to snakes! What I liked so much about this book is that it's told in the little girl's journal, though entries, newspaper clippings, ...more
May 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was and is one of my favorites. It is very creative and clever! I first read it when I was a kid; I had just had knee surgery and couldn't go anywhere. My mom went to the library for me because I was tired of watching tv and picked up this book. I loved it! I am now in my twenties and recently bought it because it just never gets old. It does have an awful back-story to the book (a little boy disappears and supposedly is murdered) but the book is written well enough that that is not wh ...more
Jenna Vahue
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
As one of Klise's stand-alone novels, Trial by Journal was so much fun. Sixth grader Lily Watson (whose teacher S. Holmes graded her journal) was chosen as a junior juror to be part of the trial of the alleged murder of her classmate, Perry Keet. I loved all the puns, references to Sherlock Holmes mysteries, and how much I learned about jury duty. I appreciated the mystery threaded throughout the story and how it wasn't obvious. The reader actually had to piece together all the clues before the ...more
Nov 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
this book trial by jury is basicly about girl named lily watson who was called to be a jury member for the case of perry keet's murder. tyle the president acuses bob white for perry's murder. time goes by and the jury starts to believe that bob white was the one who murded perry keet.

lily watson starts to investigate to see who write and turns otu perry isnt dead tyle hid him to get rid of bob. tyle gets caught by lily and goes to jail and is kicked out of being president.

i would give this book
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads data base.

Catherine "Kate" Klise is an American author of children's literature. Many of her books are illustrated by her sister, M. Sarah Klise. Their popular Regarding series is presented in a scrapbook style format, with letters, journal entries, and related ephemera telling the story. She is also known for her picture

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45 likes · 10 comments
“P.S. Nothing personal, but I think this journal assignment is a waste of time. I know I have to do something to make up for all the work I'm missing at school, but I HATE busywork. And that's what this journal thing is. Half the teachers at school assign work they never read. When we get stupid assignments like that, I always write somewhere on my paper "blah blah blah" or "I bet you're not even reading this," are you? or "Give me a sign if you're reading this." They never are.” 10 likes
“'s nice of Mrs. Goe to think that marching against the juvenile juror law is going to keep kids safe. But the fact is, we're NOT safe. Nobody is. That's the whole point. There's no such thing as being safe--here or anywhere. People get hurt every day. Some people get killed by weirdos like Bob White and some people just get teased to death at the lunch table for drinking orange soda or eating a tuna fish sandwich.” 1 likes
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