Suzie's Reviews > The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues

The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues by Ellen Raskin
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's review
Apr 02, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, ya-and-kids

Children's mystery novel from the author of 'The Westing Game' set in New York City. Art student Dickory Dock becomes an assistant to artist Garson. Garson also has Dickory assist him when he consults with the police in cases that require a keen eye for observation. The interesting thing about this book is that it is very external, and does not rely on internal monologues. It is a literary technique that extolls its main point: being observant of what people are doing is an important skill that will tell you many things about people, including some cruel truths. Although the material in here is young adult thematically (the main character's parents were murdered), I would put the reading level younger than that-- it's definitely for a younger crowd than 'The Westing Game.'

I probably read this book a dozen times when I was a kid. Dickory was glamorous to me, everyone in the book has an outrageous name. In a way, I wish it was written at a higher reading level, because that would make it easier to recommend to my friends, who are all adults. If you didn't read it as a kid you'd probably enjoy Susan Patron's 'The Higher Power of Lucky', or E.L. Konigsburg's 'The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place,' more than you would enjoy this. (Both of those are terrific.) On the other hand, I've never read another book that was written like this, much less one for children.

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