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Author: Ponti, James
[Book 1] In Washington, D.C., twelve-year-old Florian Bates, a consulting detective for the FBI, and his best friend Margaret help thwart the biggest art heist in United States history.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.00
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 185010
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.20
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 68549
Kirkus Reviews (05/15/16)
School Library Journal (06/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (06/16)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2016 Florian Bates has whirled around the globe in his twelve years due to his parents' occupations---mom's an art conservator, dad a security specialist.. He's an affable guy, reasonably adept at making acquaintances, but his knack for Holmesian observation, deduction, and commentary can seem a bit show-offish and hobble nascent friendships. Fortunately, the girl down the block, Margaret, is wowed rather than distanced by Florian's skill and throws herself wholeheartedly into its mastery as well. Good thing, too, since their recreational surveillance of a man at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. turns up a valuable lead that they give to investigators, and Florian's mad hot deductive skills (which Florian calls his Theory of All Small Things) earn him a berth as consultant to the FBI. That's not a bad gig for a twelve-year-old, but his failure to follow protocol lands him, Margaret, and his FBI mentors in real peril from the Romanian mob. This is clearly a setup for an ongoing series, and character development takes a back seat to cast introductions and plot, but appropriately so, and the story is still enjoyable. The implications Florian draws from focusing on minute details are lots of fun, and if upon reflection readers realize that Ponti is in authorial control of Florian's brilliance, well . . . it worked for Arthur Conan Doyle, too. EB - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 06/01/2016 Gr 4–7—Mystery buffs and fans of Anthony Horowitz's "Alex Rider" series are in for a treat. Protagonist Florian uses a special technique he calls T.O.A.S.T. (Theory of All Small Things) to solve mysteries. The technique enables Florian to draw conclusions based on noticing tiny details. Florian has just moved with his family to Washington, DC. He has never had many friends before. When he meets Margaret, the girl who lives next door, she is intrigued and fascinated by T.O.A.S.T. and begs Florian to teach it to her. When they go to the National Gallery of Art so Florian can teach her his method, they discover details that may be linked to the theft of three paintings. Florian's use of T.O.A.S.T. to find the missing art impresses the FBI so much that he is asked to become a covert consultant. When a dangerous crime syndicate kidnaps Florian, he will have to use every trick he knows to escape and save the day. Florian is funny and smart and grows throughout the novel. VERDICT With elements of Alex Rider, James Bond, and Sherlock Holmes stories, this is likely to be popular with mystery and action/adventure fans.—Patrick Tierney, Dr. Martin Luther King Elementary School, Providence, RI - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 07/01/2016 In this entertaining, fast-paced mystery, seventh-grader Florian Bates is surprised to find himself helping the FBI solve the theft of millions of dollars’ worth of stolen paintings from the National Gallery, in D.C. Florian humorously recounts how, as a covert asset to the FBI, he and his new friend, African American Margaret, tangle with a notorious crime syndicate as they attempt to solve the mystery. Their secret to cracking the case? They use TOAST (Theory of All Small Things) to look at all the small details to see the larger truth. Some plot points aren’t fully explained or don’t completely make sense, and readers may too easily decipher whodunit. What stands out is the portrayal of Florian’s and Margaret’s intelligence, their close friendship, and athlete Margaret’s sports prowess. Refreshingly, the adults aren’t portrayed as completely clueless; they are respectful of the kids’ crime-solving abilities, even though the preteen sleuths, as they realize themselves, are not infallible. Young readers will enjoy this first caper in a projected series. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.