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Who Stole Halloween?

Last updated Thursday, September 22, 2005

Author: Martha Freeman
Date of Publication: 2005
ISBN: 0823419622
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Oct. 2005

Synopsis: Eleven-year-old Alex and his next-door neighbor Yasmin were first seen as sleuths in the book "Who Is Stealing the 12 Days of Christmas". Now, it's Halloween that goes missing--Halloween being a neighbor's cat. Freeman offers a solid mix of misunderstandings, mischief, and mystery as the kids track not only Halloween but also other cats that have been catnapped--some say by a ghost. Is their disappearance linked to two murders that happened in the town more than 100 years ago? A cat was at the center of that mystery, too. There's a lot of super sleuthing here; even Alex's cat, Luau, gets in on the action. By setting the story at Halloween, Freeman is able to use the high jinks of the holiday as the detecting goes on.

Note to readers:
•  This is a chapter book that you won?t be able to finish. Aim to read through the end of chapter 4 (although you do not need to reach that point), and tell the children that the book will be placed into their library if they would like to check it out and read the rest.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you like solving mysteries?
•  What do you think this book is about?
•  Have you read other stories by this author?
•  Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not?
•  Do you have any pets? What would you do if someone took it? How would you feel?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do you feel like sometimes your pet is trying to tell you something? How does it communicate?
•  Do you have a friend like Alex or Yasmeen?
•  Is there anything unusual about Kyle?s flyer?
•  What do you think of the fact that Cammie starts to say that Kyle was ?so mean?"
•  It sounds like Alex?s mom works outside the home, and his Dad works inside the home. What do you think about that?
•  Who do you think took Kyle?s cat?
•  What do you think ?that Halloween business? is?
•  What do you think is the connection between the missing cats?
•  Alex?s mom mentions that the cats are neglected--why is that important? Should people have pets if they are not going to treat them well?
•  What do you think happens next?

Craft ideas:
•  How do you think the story will end? Write a newspaper article with pictures describing it.
•  Make a Halloween-themed bookmark--you could make the bookmark longer than the length of the book, with a cat head sticking out the top of the book, and tail sticking out the bottom.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!