Published by Picture Window Books (Capstone)
Summary: After a trip to the National Zoo, Azaleah is excited to start working on her extra-credit animal habitat diorama. But when she gets home, she discovers that her little sister has lost her stuffed frog Greenie. At first Azaleah’s excited to work with Tiana to solve a mystery, but when Tiana’s demands start getting in the way of work on the diorama, Azaleah gets frustrated. Older sister Nia has just gotten a big part in the school play and is acting like a bit of a diva. As family tensions start to mount, Azaleah realizes it’s up to her to get things back on track. Includes a glossary, discussion questions, writing prompts, and instructions for making a diorama. 112 pages; grades 1-3.
Pros: This early chapter book had an engaging mystery–I was genuinely curious as to what had happened to Greenie–as well as a likeable protagonist with realistic family issues. The full-color illustrations add to the appeal. This is billed as book 1, so we can hope for more adventures of Azaleah.
Cons: Dad sending everyone to bed at 6 o’clock–including middle schooler Nia–seemed a bit draconian.