The first one is called "The Odds of Getting Even" by Sheila Turnage. This one is the third one in a series and I'm a big fan. The main character is Miss Moses LoBeau. She's named Moses because as a baby, she was found floating a road sign in a river after a hurricane. She was found by a man she calls the Colonel because he had amnesia and was wearing an Army shirt when he found her. They live with Miss Lana and run a cafe in a small town in eastern NC. Mo's best friend is Dale (named after Dale Earnhardt of NASCAR fame) and together they run the Desperado Detective agency. In this third installment, Dale's dad has been accused of various crimes and is ready to stand trial, when he breaks out of jail. The rest of the book is trying to figure out where he is and it's a thrilling tale. One of the things that Sheila Turnage does really well is write similes. Her figurative language is a thing to behold and at times, makes me laugh out loud. Here's an example. "Miss Lana says Reality is like cheap shampoo. Sometimes it takes awhile to sink in." or what about this one?
Dale struggled toward us with a pet carrier, his slight body leaning against its weight. He set the cage by the steps and opened the door. Two guineas (hens) popped their heads out-paste-white, wrinkled skin, cherry-red dots on each cheek, a sparse tufty of feathers on their tiny heads. They darted out, and screamed across the yard. "Those are the ugliest birds I've ever seen." Grandmother Mis Lacy said, blinking. "Yet, but they make up for it by being loud." said Dale. "Guineas are the best watch animals next to a dog.
If you haven't read the first two, "Three Times Lucky" and "The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing", you don't HAVE to read them to enjoy this one, but why would you miss them?
The second one is also from one of my favorite authors, Dave Barry. Dave Barry makes fun of Florida better than anyone else I know. Most of the things he writes are more suited to adults, but this one is meant for kids. It's called "The Worst Class Trip Ever". It's about Wyatt, an 8th grader who lives in Miami. He's a bit of a geek but he has a crush on the prettiest girl in 8th grade and is desperate to impress her (even though she's dating someone tall and handsome). He ends up sitting next to his best friend on the plane ride to Washington, DC and things immediately deteriorate. Without giving away any big plot lines, let me tell you that the story includes death threats (mostly from Wyatt's mom), a clueless teacher, a fellow student who can fart on command, an evil plot on the President's life, complicated technology, and terrible food. In typical Dave Barry fashion, the story is hilarious and very fast paced. The kids are going to love this one.
The last one is a lot sweeter than the other two and it should be, with a title like "Honey" by Sarah Weeks. It's about a girl named Melody who lives in a small town with her dad, Henry. Her mom died when Melody was an infant and it makes her dad sad to talk about it so Melody doesn't really know anything about her. Her dad has been even more absent minded than usual, so when she hears some gossip about Henry being bitten by the love bug, she assumes he has fallen in love and starts trying to find out who he is in love with. Her best friend tries to help. There is a great cast of characters, including a dog named Mo, who hates baths and cats. It's a little funny, a little sad, and a really great story.