Cam Jansen and the Chocolate Fudge Mystery
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Adler, D. (1997). Cam Jansen and the chocolate fudge mystery. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc., by arrangement with Viking Penguin.
Cam Jansen is no ordinary little girl. She has a photographic memory and a knack for solving mysteries. On this afternoon, Cam and her friend Eric are going door to door selling chocolate bars and rice cakes to raise money for a charity. Cam notices a suspiciously dressed woman and a yellow house that appears to be vacant. After further investigation, she sees evidence that someone is possibly hiding in the house.
Soon Cam, Eric, her dad and the neighbors to the yellow house see a suspicious man on the porch of the house. At first they think he may be a writer, but then after reading a crime bulletin in the newspaper, they think he may be a bank robber! They call the police and then notice the suspicious woman again and begin following her. The police and Cam chase her into a supermarket where she admits to being an accomplice to the robbery. The suspicious man is then arrested too. Eric and Cam are commended by the police and they are amazed by Cam’s photographic memory.
This is an amazingly simple, yet entertaining mystery for young readers. I think there is series would only hold a child’s interest for a little while as they might quickly outgrow it. However, it does make a great introductory mystery book. It is safe and fun for all children.
Cam (short for Camera) Jansen and her faithful companion, Eric Shelton, encounter yet another mystery as they try to raise funds for charity by selling fudge bars and rice cakes. (They never do explain the mystery of that unlikely combination.) This time Cam spots a woman behaving suspiciously in the vicinity of a supposedly vacant house. It requires only Cam’s photographic memory (which she activates by saying “Click” constantly), deductive reasoning, and a short surveillance for the duo to ascertain that a criminal is hiding out and to alert a grateful police force. Cam satisfies the childhood fantasy of being smarter than adults and dealing successfully with mystery and danger, and young readers seem to be able to tolerate the clicks and to suspend reality in order to marvel at her wonderful ways. Another fix for the beginning readers who demand mystery books. Category: Middle Readers. 1993, Viking, $11.99. Gr. 2-4.
O’Hara, S. (1993, October 15). [Review of the book Cam Jansen and the chocolate fudge mystery, by S. O’Hara]. Booklist 90(4). Retrieved from www.booklistonline.com
Jennifer a.k.a. Cam (short for “The Camera”) Jansen is a detective with a photographic memory. Like a pit bull with a Porterhouse, Cam won’t let go of a mystery until she gnaws it to the bone and bares the truth. In this book, the fourteenth in the “Cam Jansen Adventure” series, our sleuth and her friend, Eric, (under the watchful eye of Mr. Jansen) sell fudge bars and rice cakes door-to-door to raise money for a local charity. En route, they spy a mysterious woman walking alongside a seemingly deserted yellow house. She hurries past them, deposits a bulging trash bag into someone else’s garbage, then disappears into the house across the street. Upon closer examination, they discover that other strange things are going on at the yellow house. With a click of her mental camera, Cam records them all. Her determination, fast thinking, and unique ability enable her to solve this mystery and help the police capture an elusive thief. 1999 (orig. 1993), Penguin/Puffin Books, $15.99 and $3.99. Ages 7 to 10.
Braaf, E. (1999, orig. 1993). [Review of the book Cam Jansen and the chocolate fudge mystery, by S. O’Hara]. Children’s Literature. Retrieved from http://childrenslit.com/
Uses in the Library
I would introduce this book when introducing mystery books to the youngest patrons. It would be fun to explain what clues are and what a photographic memory is. Then play a short game where one student looks at the library class then turns around. Each student then changes something small about themselves; such as tucking in a shirt, removing a bracelet, or parting their hair on the other side. Have the first student turn around and see if they can spot any of the changes. This may spur their interest in reading mysteries and seeing how good of a detective they can be.