Sunday, August 22, 2021

The Weather Detectives on the Case!


    "Maybe those sounds were to blame.
    "Maybe that's why Henry felt like throwing up."

Well, what kid wouldn't want to keep reading? The title alone intrigued me, and as I type this, thunder rumbles and rain falls, while hurricanes and tropical storms hit the coasts. 

Who or what are Weather Detectives? Henry Alabaster is the 13-year-old nephew of Kelvin McCloud, who specializes in solving cases involving weather. He's even written a book about it, chapters of which are interspersed in the text of this book. Henry proves an able assistant, as the two meet friends--and strangers--aboard a clipper cruise ship that has suffered from enough strange sights and sounds to hurt business. Hired by a crew member and friend of the captain, Kelvin and Henry set out to see what's behind the eerie phenomena. Kelvin, Henry and his friend, Rachel, keep their eyes and ears open, develop their suspect list, and ask questions. Many unexplainable occurrences put everyone aboard on edge. As more evidence comes forward and the ship steers into a hurricane, Henry suggests a plan based on his knowledge of thunder and lightning. Leaving Henry behind for safety reasons, Kelvin closes in on the guilty. 

Kelvin is also Henry's guardian following the deaths of Henry's parents, and in the course of the story, Henry grows closer to Kelvin--and Rachel--and realizes he has a family and a future, after all.

The lively writing and robust vocabulary will appeal to young readers, and they will learn a bit about weather in the process.

The Weather Detectives by Michael Erb, published this July by Tumblehome Books, is written for kids aged 9-12. I enjoyed this book as an Advanced Reader Copy pdf provided by the author. This is Erb's second book featuring Kelvin, and I hope there are more! I could imagine this being made into a TV show because the characters and situations are so singular.

Erb is himself holds a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from Rutgers, so he knows his weather! From his author bio: "Currently, he is an Assistant Research Professor at Northern Arizona University, where he helps uncover clues about Earth's past climate. As a scientist and author, he confronts mysteries both in his research and in fascinating books."