Lark Has the Shivers

Orca. (Lark Ba ­Detective: Bk. 5). Mar. 2022. 96p. pap. $7.95. ISBN 9781459826052.
Gr 2-4–Junior detectives Lark Ba and her twin brother Connor have an ambitious goal: solve two cases in one day. The pair must find animals missing from a pet show and determine if friend Sophie’s house is truly haunted. The strong points: Deen continues to frankly depict Lark’s struggles with dyslexia, and the twins’ Korean-Kenyan heritage shines throughout the story. Cutler’s grayscale illustrations reflect diversity in the supporting characters. The mix of long and short sentences, brief chapters, and plentiful white space balance the introduction of challenging vocabulary (appreciation, discouraged). The book’s fatal flaw is the depiction of mocking other people’s names, which goes unchallenged in this title because the three main characters think it’s funny, despite Connor’s initial objections. Sophie, illustrated as white and blond haired, calls the twins “Lark Sheep” and “Connor Wool”; Connor calls her “Sophie Sofa.”
VERDICT A solid premise undone by allowing verbal bullying to go unaddressed and uncorrected throughout the book. Not recommended.

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