Erica's Reviews > I Put a Spell on You: From the Files of Chrissie Woodward, Spelling Bee Detective

I Put a Spell on You by Adam Selzer
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's review
May 03, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: juvenile-fiction, mystery
Read from May 03 to 19, 2010

Every year in a small town where nothing much else happens an inordinate amount of attention is giving to the local elementary school spelling bee. This year the hall monitor Chrissie uncovers the seedy underbelly of the whole affair and compiles her evidence through transcripts of interviews with the participants and intercepted memos to present to the school board. I enjoy the portrayal of some of the students, for example the over-stressed Jennifer, the home-schooled Mutual, and the surprisingly good-natured goths and pranksters. However, it fell into the classic children's literature trap of writing adults who are entirely good for nothing and incapable of making any sort of a good or rational decision. This always vaguely concerns me--do we really want our children to be taught that adults are stupid and unreliable and it's best not to go to them with your problems? I mean I value independence, but it's important for children to feel comfortable and confident in asking adults for advice as well. The book in general was a bit overly simplistic and silly for my tastes, but I also tend to over-analyze things. It'd be fine for a quick-read for a young lover of comedy and mystery and it does earn extra points for being epistolary.

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