Smashie McPerter and the Shocking Rocket Robbery

Smashie McPerter and the Shocking Rocket Robbery
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Release Date
October 04, 2022
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Smashie McPerter and her classmates from Room 11 are going on a field trip to the planetarium! Nobody is more excited than Smashie’s best friend, Dontel, who dreams of becoming an astrophysicist. In fact, Dontel has even created an accurate drawing of a working rocket, piloted by his and Smashie’s favorite action figure, Brainyon. In a surprise move, Dontel’s grandmother, who’s chaperoning, brings the rocket drawing with her to enter into the planetarium’s science contest. But in a shocking turn of events, the drawing goes missing before they get there! Smashie is on the case (luckily she brought an array of interesting hats to help get into character). But the suspect list keeps growing—prankster Billy, who prefers the Haddock over Brainyon; tight-lipped Tatiana, who’s wearing a NASA T-shirt; and . . . Smashie herself? Nobody is above suspicion in this third hilarious and clever Smashie McPerter mystery.

Editor review

1 review
Is there a thief in the classroom?
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
This book shares a basic mystery for middle-elementary readers that is most appropriate for third or fourth grade. The main characters are in a third-grade class that’s going on a field trip to a planetarium when some things turn up missing. Two grandmothers bring space-decorated cookies for the students’ snack but they disappear during recess. Then, a detailed drawing of a workable spaceship vanishes from a backpack. This theft is complicated since Smashie does something that she’ll later regret when it damages her friendship with Dontel. The story includes details of a well-managed class as chaperones, sharing time, and respectful interactions are included. The students are especially polite and well-behaved, with the class bully even trying to atone for his previous misdeeds.
Smashie and Dontel are famous in their classroom for solving mysteries in the two previous books. As with actual detectives, they develop lists of suspects, motives, and opportunities to commit the crimes in question. Unfortunately, Smashie’s own name must be added to the list. The teacher, students, and adults expect Smashie and Dontel to solve the thefts, although the other kids think they should prioritize finding the missing cookies first. Smashie likes to literally get into costume when she’s thinking about clues and she happens to be carrying three different kinds of hats during the field trip. This is an amusing quirk of the character but it seems to help.
Friendship is an important topic in the plot. Smashie’s poor judgment creates a rift with Dontel and she worries that he might never forgive her. Smashie is only trying to support him but she knows she made a bad choice. The class bully likes to play pranks on others but he’s behaving better during the field trip and is hoping for forgiveness. The classmates usually follow the teacher’s rules, although the resolution of the plot reveals there are serious exceptions during the field trip. The children are generally cooperative and complimentary and the final revelations concerning the conflict highlight their kindness.
What didn’t work as well:
The problems driving the plot could happen in any elementary classroom but they’re not compelling enough to result in a gripping story. The students complain quite a bit on the bus about being hungry and wanting the cookies but it doesn’t create much suspense for readers. However, the explanation of the crimes at the end is more complex than expected and is heart-warming.
The Final Verdict:
This book will appeal to third and fourth-grade readers but don’t expect any suspense or major issues. The compassionate, endearing characters offer a refreshing contrast to many of today’s novels and the message of thoughtfulness is at the forefront. Give this book a shot if you’re looking for a simple story of kindness.
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