By Dorian Cirrone
Illustrated by Liza Woodruff
Marshall Cavendish, April 2006
For ages 7-10
When Lindy Blues, Your Nose for News, gets a call that there’s been a bank robbery, she jumps into action. She heads for the White House – the one on 14th and Flamingo, the home of Joshua and Amy Becker. When she learns there’s only one silver dollar missing from Amy’s “World Bank,” Lindy can’t believe an important reporter would be asked to cover such a small story. But it’s a slow news week and she needs a scoop. Will Lindy solve the mystery of the missing coin by tonight’s news show? Tune in and find out!
“This early chapter book follows multitasking fourth grader Lindy Blues as she tracks down stories for her weekly neighborhood news show. Assisted by her brother Alex and his hand-me-down camcorder, Lindy broadcasts from the ‘Lindy Blues Network Studio’ —her garage. Curious and clever, she turns a slow news day into a buoyant first-person account, using math skills both to solve the titular mystery and help her friend Joshua win a toy rocket launch contest. Information about U.S. silver dollars is woven into the text, and Woodruff’s lively illustrations complement and extend the story. The use of the present tense, and Lindy’s tendency to refer to herself in the third person, seem stylistically right, given the busy girl’s dedication to her reportorial role. Tuned-in kids will enjoy Lindy’s inventiveness as she scoops some really local news.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“Part detective, part investigative reporter, Lindy is a likable new voice on the easy-reader mystery scene. Her humor is creatively executed in asides to the reader, adding a layer of depth to the development of Lindy’s character. The journalism angle offers a nice addition to the usual kid-detective theme …”
– The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“It’s a small job for a serious reporter – but it’s also a slow week, and Lindy discovers a complex plot underlying a seemingly small sum of vanished money in this zany, appealing story.”
– Midwest Book Review: Children’s Bookwatch
“The witty dialogue rings true and helps bring the characters to life so that children will surely enjoy the story. This is a good purchase for readers wanting chapter books.”
– Children’s Literature
“Full-page drawings and spot art enliven the text and help to establish the characters. This beginning chapter book often takes a funny, sardonic tone …”
– School Library Journal
“The humor ranges from deadpan to just plain ‘punny.’ Kids should love that.”
– South Florida Sun-Sentinel
“Kids who’ve graduated from Nate the Great will love Lindy.”
– The Miami Herald
Reporter Lindy Blues here, Your Nose For News. I sniff out the news. I bring you the news. If there is no news, I make it up.
Lindy Blues brings you the story behind the story. The story in front of the story. The story beside the story. Well, you get the picture – the whole story. Here’s the scoop on my latest case.
A Call from the White House
It’s Saturday and the telephone at LBN, the Lindy Blues Network, wakes me up early. It’s a news tip. A voice at the other end tells me there’s been a robbery at the World Bank. If I want the story I have to be at the White House in thirty minutes. That’s the White House on 14th and Flamingo, the home of Joshua Becker.
Fortunately, the LBN office is also my bedroom. I quickly change from my pajamas to my Lindy Blues Fourth Grade Investigative Reporter suit. The pink one with the dark brown shirt that matches my hair. Looking good on camera is a must for any reporter these days.
Besides, when LBN airs tonight at six on the old VCR in the garage, who knows what famous people might be there among my usual neighborhood audience? I race to find my photographer, Alex, who happens to be my little brother. Since his office is also his bedroom, I find him sleeping. “Wake up,” I say. “We’ve got a story to cover.”
Alex rubs his eyes and starts to get ready. Slowly. Alex is a good photographer but he doesn’t seem to get that deadlines are important. He changes his clothes, brushes his teeth, but forgets to comb his hair, which is okay because Alex works behind the camera, not in front of it. Like me.
I grab a granola bar and a glass of milk. I wait for Alex to pack up his camera. It’s one of those old camcorders that still uses big videotapes for recording and playing, a hand-me-down after Dad went digital and got one that hooks up to the computer.
When Alex is done zipping his camera bag, he stuffs Billy the Beaver and an extra tape into a side compartment. He never leaves home without an extra tape – or Billy the Beaver. Alex acts very old about some things – like math and spelling and being a photographer. But other times he acts like the eight-year-old kid that he really is.
Finally, Alex begins to eat his breakfast. He is a very slow eater. Mainly because he eats his food in alphabetical order – one food at a time. Banana,cereal, milk, orange juice. Today it’s apple juice, butter, jelly, toast. Yuck.
I tell him his food would be better mixed together. He jumps up and down. “There,” he says. “Now it’s mixed.” Normally Alex is very quiet. I think I like him better that way.
When he’s through jumping, Alex slings his camera bag over his shoulder. I grab a pen, my reporter’s notebook, and my portable microphone. It’s not a real mic, but I like my Saturday night broadcasts to look professional.
Finally, we head to the White House.
On the way, Mrs. Carlucci drives by. I wave to her. She does not wave back. Mrs. Carlucci used to be a big fan of the Lindy Blues Network – until a few weeks ago. That’s when she heard I did a story about how her cabbage soup diet didn’t appear to be working because her dress looked a little bit tighter than usual.
At the same time, I reported there was a funny smell coming from the Carlucci household. Like smells, sometimes news travels very fast. When Mrs. Carlucci got a whiff of the story from some of my usual Saturday night audience of friends and fans, she was not happy. Since then, she does not wave to me or the LBN crew.
That’s when I learned not everyone is a fan of the truth in news reporting.
When we get to the White House, Joshua, a fellow fourth grader, and his seven-year-old sister, Amy, are waiting outside.
Alex rolls the tape. I put my face between the freckled faces of Joshua and Amy and look straight at the camera. I tap the mic twice and yell, “Is this thing on? Testing one, two, three,” because people with real microphones do that all the time.
“This is the LBN news team reporting to you live from the White House. Mr. Becker, tell us about the robbery at the world … What?!?! Wait a minute. Stop the tape! Stop the tape! What is going on here?”
I’ve noticed that Amy is holding a small bank in the shape of, you guessed it – a globe. “Is this the World Bank you were talking about? You call Reporter Lindy Blues away from the rest of the world news to cover a robbery from a plastic bank, a piggy bank – as in oink oink? This is an outrage!”
“Calm down,” Joshua says. “We’re talking about silver dollars here. Amy has been collecting them since she was born. Yesterday she had eleven dollars in her bank. But this morning, when she woke up, she only had ten dollars.”
“So, Mr. Becker,” I say, “what we are talking about here is the theft of one dollar?”
“Yes,” Joshua says. “But silver dollars can be very valuable, especially the older ones.”
“Is Ms. Becker’s missing silver dollar an older one?”
“Well … no,” Joshua answers. “But someday it will be.”
At this point I cannot believe that I, Lindy Blues, am covering the theft of one, as in solo, single, uno silver dollar. But then again it has been a slow news week and I do need a good story for tonight’s show.
“Okay,” I say. “Alex, roll the tape.
With a title like The Missing Silver Dollar what type of story will this be?
How are mysteries different from other stories? What types of things should a reader keep in mind?
What does a reporter do? What does Lindy mean by “the whole story?”
What is the LBN? Who started it? How does Alex help?
What happened at the white house? How will Lindy help?
What does a good journalist do no matter what?
How did Amy know the money was missing?
What contest is Joshua preparing for? Who does he hope to defeat? Why? Who do you think will win?
Why does Lindy suspect a connection between the contest and the missing silver dollar?
How does Lindy Blues feel about spying?
What makes Will Malone’s rocket fly so high?
Who does Lindy suspect in this chapter? Why?
What do they find on their search? Why does Amy start to cry again?
How is Lindy able to convince her older brother, Brett, to help her with the case?
Which fact do you think is the most important to her case?
What items does Lindy collect? Why?
What two things will affect the rocket’s performance?
Retell what happens at the rocket contest.
How does Lindy figure out what happened to the silver dollar?
How was Opposite Day connected to the mystery of the missing coin?
Why is it a good thing for the neighborhood that it was a mistake?
Become a news reporter for your own neighborhood. Even if you don’t have your own photographer, snoop out stories you want to investigate. Interview at least one person and give a report to the class as to what you uncovered.
Coin project. Assign each child a coin or money value. Have them research the creating of this piece into the American money system. They can create a pamphlet that answers the following questions:
- How long that type of coin has been in use.
- Whose picture is featured and why.
- If it has gone through any design changes.
- What material it is made out of.
- Any details that they discover are interesting.
Draw or sketch your favorite scene from the book which is not yet illustrated.
Experiment with a penny, nickel, dime, quarter, and silver dollar to discover the following properties:
- Heaviest coin
- Lightest coin
- Coins that float
- Largest to smallest
Can you create a theme song for the Lindy Blues Network? These themes are generally quite short, usually upbeat and distinctive. Record it and play for your class!
This guide was created by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, a reading specialist and children’s author.
Visit her website to find dozens of other guides and learn about her books.
Chinese version of The Missing Silver Dollar