Book review: It Happened on a Train, by Mac Barnett, with illustrations by Adam Rex

Barnett, Mac. It Happened On a Train. With illustrations by Adam Rex. (Brixton Brothers series, #3) Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2011.  $15.99.  ISBN 978-1-4169-7819-0. 277 p. Gr. 3-7. P6 Q7

barnett-it-happened-on-a-trainSteve Brixton has retired.  Yes, the 7th grade detective hung up his spy glass and his deerstalker hat.  However, on a train trip to southern California the young detective and his comrade Dana discover a train car that doesn’t appear to be there, spot a girl who vanishes, and learn about missing classic automobiles.  All combine into a mystery that just begs to be solved.

Verdict: I was an avid fan of Nancy Drew when I was younger and It Happened on a Train reminded me of those beloved novels. The illustrations by Adam Rex are reminiscent of the cover art of the library editions of the early Nancy Drew Mysteries.  Elements of danger, intrigue, and mystery lurk in each illustration.  The plot unfolds slowly and I think a more condensed writing style could reduce the book to under 200 pages and make it a must read for young mystery fans.

October 2016 review by Shelly Jones.

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