A group of friends, a mystery, and a treehouse – the recipe for a great eBook and an amazing adventure story perfect for third through fifth graders. Neighborhood Watch Kids and Duh Color Stuff is a wonderful story of 5 kids and their budding friendship. As they work together to solve a series of mysterious occurrences in their town, they learn how to work together, rely on each other, and make decisions. The things they learn are lessons and skills that children must learn throughout childhood to be successful and happy adults.
The story opens on a sunny Sunday afternoon, when Johnny and his pet dog Paw head to the neighborhood playground for a day of fun. However, when they arrive, they find a group of adults talking excitedly. Johnny sneaks a little closer to see what all of the excitement is about. What he finds is that someone has completely destroyed the playground. Litter and debris are scattered all over the place and everyone is claiming that someone has vandalized the playground. Johnny sees a boy from school named Arnold. He goes over to get Arnold’s opinion about what is going on. They agree to work together and combine their skills and knowledge to figure out what is going on. As they move around the neighborhood to other locations where mysterious messes are found, they gather more and more friends who want to help them in their quest. In the end, the kids must learn how to work together in spite of their differences, use their individual skill sets to solve the mystery, and make the best decisions to keep them safe and help them figure things out.
This story is a genius way to help children learn these valuable social skills by following the adventures of these five friends. The story offers several opportunities for the reader to choose what direction the friends will go. The decisions are entirely up to the reader and they can see the results of their choices. There are also several times when the reader has to search a picture for clues to help the friends with the mystery which also adds to its appeal. The characters are likeable and easy for kids to identify with. The story is written well, but in my opinion it gets a little long and may be too long for younger children. However, overall older elementary aged kids will have fun helping these kids solve mysteries and learn about each other. The best part, is that they probably won’t even realize they are learning while reading!