Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Sandwich Thief

The Sandwich Thief

Spring 2016 Fiction
Ages: 8 - 11 yrs.
Author: Andre Marois
Illustrator: Patrick Doyon
Publisher: Chronicle Books
ISBN: 978-1452146591
Hardcover Price: $14.99

Marin's parents are dedicated foodies. So, of course, Marin gets a gourmet sandwich in his lunch every day, seasoned with his mother's special homemade mayonnaise and packed with a handwritten note from his father. On Monday, Marin looks forward to eating his favorite sandwich of all-ham, cheddar, and kale. But when he opens his lunchbox, only the note falls out. The sandwich has been stolen! Marin begins to eye his classmates with suspicion. He plants traps to catch the thief. He even visits the school principal to complain, only to realize that the principal, who clearly eats uninspiring take-out lunches, has his own motive for the food thefts. Finally, Marin must confess his problem to his parents; and together, they craft a family solution to keep Marin's sandwiches safe.

Young readers may not entirely agree with Marin's taste in sandwiches, but they will nevertheless enjoy this clever, whimsical mystery story. The Sandwich Thief combines the genres of picture book and chapter book; the colored line drawings are central to the book's humor and characterization, but the story is organized in mini-chapters according to the day of the week, extending the suspense of the mystery. Marin is not a particularly enlightened or progressive detective (of course, he targets 'Big Bobby' as his first suspect, and he never seems to regret harboring unfair suspicions of anyone). Most of the humor in the book, however, is directed at Marin's dramatics (and at the hapless, overworked principal). The Sandwich Thief will give young readers a good giggle, and a first taste of the joys of detective fiction.

Naomi Lesley   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Naomi Lesley taught middle and high school English for six years. She is currently in a doctoral program at the George Washington University, focusing on American young adult literature.

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