Parent-Child Book Discussion
snack: donuts and/or ice cream
1. Thumbs Up/down and general thoughts about the book.
2. Why did people think Steve was a real detective?
3. Why is Steve accused of being a traitor? What would you do if you were accused of doing something that you didn't do? (ex: fine on a book you returned; copying off of someone's homework, etc)
4. How did the illustrations enhance the story?
5. How does this book portray librarians, police and teachers? Why do you think the author wrote them this way? (cat brooch, donuts, lazy, secretive, etc)
6. What is a "red herring." Did this book have any red herrings? (the symbols in the quilt book; policeman's name--Rick Elliot)
7. Grabes offers Steve 40,000 dollars for the book. What do you think would have happened if Steve had collaborated?
8. What was Mrs. Gilfeather's alias? (Mr. E, sounds like "mystery") What would your alias be?
9. The author makes fun of the mystery genre by creating "detective tips" that are sometimes found in mystery books and shows. What "tips" have you noticed in other books/shows? (Scooby doo-- the sidekick always gets captured, the way criminals look in Boxcar Children/Nancy Drew/Hardy boys?
10. Of the detective tips-- which ones worked and which ones didn't?
(hiding place in library,p32; flex ties hands muscles, p55; eat secret message, p69; how to jump and land, p 72; importance of mag. glass, p 80; making sheet rope, p81; talking like a criminal and having a disguise, p 100; haymaker punch, p 116; dusting for fingerprints; making a booby trap, p134; getting icecream, p153; solving mystery publically, p165.
11. This book was funny because the adults believed the unbelievable. What are some of the outrageous things that happened in the book that would have been a BIG deal in real life? (kid driving a car, mother leaving a note for Steve and not making a big effort to find him on a school night, kids going to a shady part of town dressed as sailors, a detective card actually making someone a detective, the importance of finishing homework assignment in light of everything else, etc)
The Brixton Brothers website where you can create your own detective agency and glean important Bailey Brothers "tips"! http://www.brixtonbrothers.com/home.php
Questions from a teacher, Mrs. McGuire: http://www.mrsdebbiemcguire.com/uploads/4/6/8/7/4687418/brixton_brothers_questions.pdf
Book: Detective Science by Jim Wiese--Fun ideas and activities for sleuthing: lip prints, dusting for fingerprints, cloth fibers, footprint casts, ink identification, height projections, DNA testing, handwriting analysis, etc.
Book: Lu and Clancy's Spy Stuff by Adrienne Mason-- disguises, stakeouts, secret messages, alarms, etc ( a little less serious of a book, sort of what the Bailey Brothers might recommend!)
Book: Master Detective Handbook by Janice Kilby-- more fun activities!
Try the CSI games on PBS's Ruff Ruffman website to solve some crimes: