Eric Berlin creates puzzles for all ages, from kids to adults (his crosswords appear often in The New York Times). He is a member of the National Puzzlers' League and enjoys creating puzzle events for schools and other groups. He lives in Milford, Connecticut, with his wife and two children.
Gr 4-7-The whiz kid from The Puzzling World of Winston Breen (Putnam, 2007) returns to reason through his second mystery. Winston and his two friends, Mal and Jake, are sent to represent Walter Fredericks Junior High in a daylong puzzle competition sponsored by the eccentric owner of Simon's Snack Foods. Their teacher, Mr. Garvey, is determined to win the $50,000 prize for their school and constantly chides the boys to take the day seriously. As Winston's group scrambles around town tracking clues and solving riddles, they are waylaid by a saboteur they suspect is connected to one of the competing schools. They also encounter ethical questions: Is it okay to bend the rules to win? In the end, Winston and Mr. Garvey face a moral dilemma and emerge with a better understanding of one another. Berlin refreshes traditional themes, including the importance of good sportsmanship, with oodles of mind-bogglers for readers' enjoyment. While some puzzles are integral to the plot, others can be solved at a later point (an answer key and additional puzzles are appended). The interlocking mystery contains all the information needed for its unraveling. The subplots are well integrated and the dialogue is snappy. Suggest this fine brainteaser to fans of Siobhan Dowd's The London Eye Mystery (Random, 2008) or Trenton Lee Stewart's The Mysterious Benedict Society (Little, Brown, 2007).-Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
When a local snack-food manufacturer creates a puzzle contest to benefit a school, Winston Breen and his two best friends represent their middle school, solving his six elaborate puzzles and an unexpected seventh: exposing a cheater. Like its predecessor, this second adventure in The Puzzling World of Winston Breen has a number of extra puzzles included in the narrative and more at the end, along with the answers. . . . Suspenseful. -Kirkus Reviews