A chatty girl with an unusual knack for fixing broken things interprets a school assignment with flair in Levy’s debut, series-launching chapter book.
Gabby’s mother is convinced that her daughter has the gift of gab, but the young girl knows that her true talent is her “Inspector Eyes”: “I can see things other kids can’t see….They might look at the same thing I’m looking at, and they might see the same thing I see on the outside, but they don’t see how to fix it like I do.” Her talent allows her to fix not only objects, but social situations, which is a clever way for Levy to apply her protagonist’s unique skill. Gabby’s biggest problem is her neighbor, Ajay, the son of her mom’s “BFF.” After Ajay breaks his brand-new water gun and Gabby uses her Inspector Eyes to fix it, he won’t leave her alone. Gabby’s mother tries to convince her that Ajay simply likes her, but she’s sure that’s not the reason. Ajay waits for her to walk to the school bus, tries to get her attention while she’s talking to her best friend, and passes her notes in class. When the note-passing gets both her and Ajay in trouble, she uses her Inspector Eyes to defend Ajay, even though he got her into hot water in the first place. The book is framed as a writing assignment; each chapter offers a different problem for which Gabby suggests a solution—even when she doesn’t really have a good one. Several problems never get solved, but they may come up again in future installments. Gabby is a likable narrator, and the high-quality illustrations, one per chapter, are kid-friendly and amusing, featuring a diverse cast of schoolchildren. The seemingly unfinished ending may frustrate some youngsters, but newly independent readers will be comfortable with the vocabulary, which feels genuine to Gabby’s voice.
A clever, if cliff-hanging, chapter book that offers a strong female narrator with a unique gift for fixing problems.
Pub Date: May 31st, 2014
Page count: 52pp
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online: Aug. 12th, 2014