Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Encourages reading; good for young readers ready for something more.
Cons: Not as creative and fun as some of Mo’s other books; different parts can be disjointed
The Bottom Line:
And meet Mystery Reader
In easy reader
Reading is a Superpower!
Last year, Mo Willems started a new series for beginning readers. Who is The Mystery Reader? is the return to the world of Unlimited Squirrels. Unfortunately, it has confirmed that this series doesn’t have the charm for me that some of his other books do.
These books are broken up into many parts. The main story involves Zoom Squirrel who gets some help in reading for The Mystery Reader, a costumed superhero. But who is the masked man? And can Zoom enter the world of masked superheroes?
As a story designed for beginning readers, it is decent. It encourages young readers to sound out big words to grow their vocabulary. And, with how superhero obsessed our culture seems to be right now, making reading into a superpower adds a lot of fun.
However, this story seems to lack the charm and humor of some of Mo’s other work. As an adult, I think that is what I am looking for.
I mentioned other parts to the book. We get a couple of terrible (and by that, I mean delightful) puns and jokes related to reading. There’s also a section where we see the work that goes into creating a book. As an adult and avid reader, I already knew most of this, but it is nice to see it explained to kids. The format works for kids who are ready for something a little extra and beyond the easy picture books, but it can make it a little harder to read to a larger audience.
I am trying to look at this book as both an adult fan and as a young reader might. I can see them completely loving this book, but as an adult, I don’t see a need to rush out and read the Unlimited Squirrel books. While I appreciate what Mo is doing here, I think Who is The Mystery Reader? will be my last venture into this world without a child to enjoy it with me.