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This Gum for Hire (Chet Gecko Mysteries
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About the Author

BRUCE HALE is the author of five picture books as well as the Chet Gecko mysteries. A popular speaker, teacher, and storyteller for children and adults, he was awarded a Fulbright grant in 1998 to teach storytelling and to study folklore in Thailand. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.

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Gr 3-6-The wisecracking fourth grader solves his sixth case. As always, Chet is aided by his mockingbird friend as they attempt to discover why the football players are disappearing just before the big game. Herman, a bulky Gila monster, asks for his help, offering both cake and restraint from bodily harm as payment. Chet and Natalie are forced to go undercover as football player and cheerleader to find the connection between a mysterious stomach ailment, bubble gum, and the water boy who didn't make the team. As in the previous books, Chet's sarcastic wit makes the story a great choice for reluctant older readers who are fans of Jon Scieszka's "Time Warp Trio" series (Viking). The humor makes this a jollier read than E. A. Hass's "Incognito Mosquito" series (Random; o.p.). Younger audiences might miss sophisticated lines such as "You can't play dumber- without a lobotomy." However, anyone will laugh at the slapstick situations. Kids will also appreciate Chet's constant desire for foods such as "greasy horsefly burritos" or "Lice Krispie treats." Black-and-white line drawings appear every few pages, depicting funny animal characters with exaggerated human characteristics.-Debbie Whitbeck, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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