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Crime Scene Investigator Review by Maggi Beardsley

By Geoffrey M. Horn
Gareth Stevens Publishing: A Weekly Reader Company
1 Reader's Digest Road
Pleasantville, NY 10570-7000

Crime Scene Investigator is a 32-page paperback book published by Gareth Stevens Publishing, A Weekly Reader Company. It is full of colorful pictures. There are five chapters: "On the Scene," "Looking for Clues," "At the Crime Lab," "Dead Certain," and "Crime Scene Chaos." There is also a glossary as well as a page that lists books and websites for more information on crime scene investigations.

This book is part of the "Cool Adventure Career" series. A parent might use this book to have their child investigate career options. The typeface is large, and the vocabulary isn't too extensive. A second grader would be able to read it, but the content is for sixth grade and up. A parent might use this book to encourage an uninterested young reader to read for pleasure. It is not particularly geared towards homeschoolers. There is a brief note about the CSI shows on television. If a reluctant reader followed the shows, then he or she might be very open to reading this book.

Crime Scene Investigator flew off of my shelf before I had even announced to my third-grade son that I had brought the book home. He was able to read the book on his own and answer some of his questions about the term CSI, which he has heard before. I appreciated that the pictures were not graphic. The vocabulary, such as ballistics, was explained well.

I found that the brief explanation of DNA was very vague and left my child wondering what DNA was exactly. The only chapter that I didn't like was the last chapter, "Crime Scene Chaos." The book also mentions the Rodney King incident in Los Angeles in 1991; the bombing in Mumbai, India, in 2006; and the September 11, 2001, incident in New York. These incidents require much more study than just a few pages. I didn't feel that young readers would be old enough to understand these three incidents. If the reader of this book were in high school, then the parent could expand upon these topics appropriately. Thankfully, my young reader was only vaguely aware of the incidents, and we could skip over those topics until a more appropriate age.

I find the Weekly Reader books are easy reads for my children. They also cover many subjects that children find interesting.

Product review by Maggi Beardsley, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2009