The Olsen Twins are on the Case
Parents need not fear that their pre-teens are reading about an actual kidnapping. The author makes it clear on the third page that the Flapper who gets 'napped is just a cat. The historical implications of the cover aren't altogether false though -- the author manages to work in a grand total of three references to the 1920's, including the informative gem, "The Charleston was a dance everyone did back then."
In between those rare educational tidbits we meet the suspects in the cat-napping: A creepy man, a very guilty-looking dog (although how a dog could have committed the crime is never quite explained), a bumbling boy detective, and a spoiled little girl. Before you start wondering about character development and motives, it's important to remember that Flapper 'Napper is aimed at the elementary school crowd. This book is an easy read in every possible way. There aren't any big words, and the text is in a font so large you could read it from across the room. Every concept is carefully explained, as in this example from page 64: "'Framed' is a detective word. It means making someone look guilty."
The most fascinating section of this book was at the very end. After the story was over, I found pages and pages of advertisements for Mary-Kate and Ashley products: several book series, a new straight-to-video movie called Our Lips are Sealed, their "Magical Mystery Mall" PlayStation game (also available for Game Boy), the Mary-Kate and Ashley Celebrity Premiere Fashion Dolls, an invitation to join them on a cruise, a bunch of their music CD's, and of course, information about their website. Their mystery-solving skills may never rival Encyclopedia Brown's, but when it comes to marketing, these girls have it all figured out. -- Lisa Beebe