#AussieAuthor2021, #LoveOZMG, adventure, Australian literature, Book Industry, Books, challenges, Children's Literature, Crime/Mystery, middle grade, Publishers, Reading, Reviews, Scholastic, short stories

200 Minutes of Mystery by Jack Heath

Title: 200 Minutes of Mystery

Author: Jack Heath

Genre: Mystery

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 1st April 2021

Format: Paperback

Pages: 144

Price: $14.99

Synopsis: The next instalment in Jack Heath’s best-selling Minutes of Danger series

  • 10 death-defying short stories, each with a mystery to solve in 20* minutes of reading time
  • Each story counts down from 20 minutes to 0.
  • Thrilling, bite-sized tales of action and adventure— perfect for reluctant readers

10 stories. 10 mysterious situations. 10 brave kids. 20 minutes of clues.

Kane’s parachute fails during a skydive. Is someone trying to kill him?

Fang is investigated by secret police. Can she prove she isn’t a traitor?

Omar is buried alive in a coffin. How will he escape?

Jack Heath’s ten nail-biting and mysterious short stories will intrigue and terrify during each 20-minute countdown, as dangerous situations play out right down to the last crucial moment.

Read 10 dangerous stories, in 20 minutes* of reading time! *Based on average reading speed

~*~

The latest in Jack Heath’s Minutes of Danger series, 200 Minutes of Danger has ten short stories that take place over 20 minutes – which is based on the average reading speed for these stories, and the stories are told in real time – everything that happens takes place within 20 minutes, so readers are hooked in and go on the journey with the characters.

Sky diving mishaps, being buried alive and secret police are just a few of the stories told, through the eyes of a diverse cast of children as they are going about their daily lives when they are caught up in mysteries and crimes that they never thought would be a possibility at the start of the story. Each is its own self-contained event, and ends with a resolution that could easily be the finale or lead into a larger story and novel – though it is fun to imagine what happens next without it being written!

What is really inventive is that Jack Heath has a countdown as you read, showing the progress of reading for 20 minutes, which is a fun way to build a child’s reading confidence and perhaps could be used as a tool for reading and literacy comprehension in class to see how each student responds or utilises this technique. As an adult reader, I probably read a little faster, as I have always been a fast reader, but I found the countdown intriguing.

For reluctant readers, it can be used as a marker to show progress on their reading journey and is a nice introduction to the mystery genre and the different ways writers can create stories using the common tropes and themes involved in mysteries. This is the second Jack Heath book I have read this year, and I might seek out more – when the massive TBR piles subside a little! It is always interesting to see how different authors tackle common themes and genres, especially for younger readers and in ways that can help them  build their reading confidence.

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