Book Review (and a Giveaway!): The Book Bandit by Caron Pescatore

Posted April 19, 2023 by meezcarrie in Caron Pescatore, children, contemporary, giveaway, mystery/suspense / 3 Comments

THE BOOK BANDIT by Caron Pescatore
Amanda Neves
A Phoebe Chen Mystery #1

GENRE: Children’s Chapter Book / Mystery
PUBLISHER: Pesky Books 4Kidz
RELEASE DATE: March 27, 2023
PAGES: 136

Eight-year-old Phoebe Chen has a new mystery to solve. Can you help?

Phoebe loves anything that involves brainstorming, like jigsaw puzzles, riddles, and word searches. Her lifelong dream is to solve mysteries like her detective father—or ND, her favorite girl detective. So when a friend’s prized autographed book disappears, Phoebe immediately offers to take on the case.

Enlisting the help of her BFF, Phoebe gets to work searching for clues, interviewing witnesses, and compiling a list of suspects. But when the evidence implicates a friend, she realizes being a detective isn’t all fun and games. Phoebe must find concrete evidence before she points the finger. Can she do it, or will the book bandit get away with the dastardly deed?


The Book Bandit starts a chapter book prequel series, of sorts, to Caron Pescatore’s middle grade Kids’ Court series. The two series feature the same characters a few years apart, the chapter book series of course covering the younger elementary years. I thought this was a neat concept, particularly for families that have children spanning multiple grade levels. The early elementary ages can enjoy the Phoebe Chen Mystery series and grow into their older siblings’ Kids’ Court middle grade series while getting to stay in the same universe with the same characters.

The feel and cadence of The Book Bandit reminded me of the Encyclopedia Brown books that I loved reading as a child. The mystery involves a missing book – an autographed book, no less – so nothing too dark or scary for young readers, but it’s clearly important to their friend so it makes sense for Phoebe & Luana to be on the case! The two eight-year-olds have different personalities, different cultural backgrounds, different strengths, and different approaches to investigating, but I loved the sweet friendship they share. The world would be a better place if more adults would emulate Phoebe & Luana, and the focus on empathy in this story is an important reinforcement for today’s children.

Bottom Line: The Book Bandit by Caron Pescatore is a sweet story with a light mystery and diverse characters. Themes of friendship and empathy give the plot layers (without coming on too strong) and provide opportunities for meaningful discussion. This would make a great read-aloud at home or in school, but it’s a fun story for kids to read on their own too.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. This is not a sponsored post. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / cute read!

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Caron Pescatore was born in the United Kingdom. She spent her childhood in Jamaica before migrating to the United States. After practicing as a registered nurse for several years, she entered law school, getting her J.D. in 2001. She worked as an attorney for years before leaving the profession to become a stay-at-home mom—her most challenging career to date. Ms. Pescatore recently returned to law and now works for Legal Aid. Her favorite pastimes are reading, writing, and watching true-crime shows. At present, Ms. Pescatore lives in Florida with her husband and children.

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Enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of The Book Bandit,
autographed by Caron Pescatore.

Four (4) winners receive:
A signed paperback copy of A Phoebe Chen Mystery: The Book Bandit

The Book Bandit: Book Giveaway

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3 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): The Book Bandit by Caron Pescatore

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