I wonder if Florian Bates, the MC of this sharp new series, could help me find my keys? I have a feeling it would only take him a few minutes. He sees details the rest of us miss, so much so that the FBI hires him.
The story is another one that begins at the end and then goes back to explain how Florian got himself in such a mess. The story telling is crisp and fun as told in first person POV. Florian is wise beyond his years having lived all over the world. His unique way of seeing details had me doing the same in real life.
His best friend, Margaret, makes a great, strong secondary character. Her story is just as important to the story as Florian’s. You’ll enjoy the sites and sounds of Washington D.C. including a look inside the FBI headquarters and The National Gallery of Art.
Some of the twists and turns were a bit too convenient, but with this fast moving plot, readers will most likely be forgiving. I’m looking forward to more from this smart new protagonist as he takes on more cases. I raise a toast to the author! Oh, there’s my keys.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2016 PAGE COUNT: 304
FULL PLOT (From AMAZON) Get to know the only kid on the FBI Director’s speed dial and several international criminals’ most wanted lists all because of his Theory of All Small Things in this hilarious start to a brand-new middle grade mystery series.
So you’re only halfway through your homework and the Director of the FBI keeps texting you for help…What do you do? Save your grade? Or save the country?
If you’re Florian Bates, you figure out a way to do both.
Florian is twelve years old and has just moved to Washington. He’s learning his way around using TOAST, which stands for the Theory of All Small Things. It’s a technique he invented to solve life’s little mysteries such as: where to sit on the on the first day of school, or which Chinese restaurant has the best eggrolls.
But when he teaches it to his new friend Margaret, they uncover a mystery that isn’t little. In fact, it’s HUGE, and it involves the National Gallery, the FBI, and a notorious crime syndicate known as EEL.
Can Florian decipher the clues and finish his homework in time to help the FBI solve the case?
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: FRAMED! A T.O.A.S.T. MYSTERY by James Ponti (2016 CYBILS nominee)
- Florian and Margaret meet for the first time at the beginning of the book and are best friends by the end. It’s a realistic journey of how a friendship develops for kids.
- T.O.A.S.T. (Theory Of All Small Things) proves we should look at the small details rather than basing our judgement on big picture first impressions. At first it sounded like a gimmick, but it really does work.
- It’s a mystery with comedy throughout. Kids are always asking for both so here it is in one book.
- Special Agent Rivers is just the type of adult you want around your own kids. He’s protective and a great mentor.
- Two somewhat geeky kids make a perfect pair to carry this mystery on their shoulders. The parents are supportive but in the background most of the time. It’s a combination young readers will embrace.
FAVORITE LINE: Judging by his glower, I was pretty sure I’d ruined everything. I could just imagine the funeral, with my FBI instructor saying, “I told him not to antagonize his captor.” And Margaret shaking her head and responding, “And I told him not to go behind the Safeway.”
AUTHOR QUOTE: I worked a little bit in movies (nothing big or cool) but a lot in television. In fact I’ve worked as a writer and producer in television for over twenty years. I started in kids TV. I’ve written for Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and PBS. When I was with Disney Channel I was a writer on the Mickey Mouse Club and at PBS I wrote for Clifford’s Puppy Days. (Read more at James Ponti’s Author Web Site)
Now for even better news… I’m celebrating the holidays with two gift giveaways. If you’re already stressed about holiday shopping, I can help. Comment today or on any of the upcoming Friday, Saturday, Sunday posts from December 5-11 and receive an entry each time. At 2 p.m. EST on Sunday, December 11th, I’ll draw two names.
One person will receive their own hardback edition of (click on any of the National Geographic titles for my previous review):
The second name drawn will receive their own hardback edition of:
Keep these for yourself or use them as gifts for the special person in your life. The books will come to you wrapped and ready to be put under the tree. Good luck to all who enter (U.S. Residents only on this giveaway).
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.