Sunday, March 19, 2006

international ring of camel thieves

BigE has read a lot of Boxcar Children mysteries in the past year, since he learned to read on his own.

It was not surprising at all to me when he came home from school this past September, talking about some mysterious marks he found on the science center table, shaped like a spider. Nor later, when he mentioned the mysterious scraps of paper left under his desk, NOT left by himself who always cleans his desk area like he is told to do. Who is defacing the science center table? And who is trying to frame BigE?

It didn't particularly surprise me when, by mid-October, he had recruited two of the other fourteen kids in the class to help him sleuth, 'Tom' and 'Jane'.

But now, after seven months of school, the detective work continues. Nearly all of the twelve kids (two moved away) have joined the ranks of 'detective.' Amusingly, it seems that when you join the detectives your name is erased from the list of suspects.

BigE, Tom and Jane continue to head up the detective work as shown in these two recent letters. Every stray mark on every table is analyzed to determine whether it was made by marker, pencil or crayon. Unusual colors of crayons are especially important, since not all the children have the same sixteen color box.

Time of day? Access of other children to the first-grade classroom? One suspect, or several children working together? These and other details are, apparently, discussed frequently at the top of the sledding hill.

The fact that it could be the work of twelve sometimes bored and sometimes sloppy first-graders who have no ulterior motives has not yet entered their minds.

Which is fine with me. Let it be an international ring of camel thieves, then. I'm enjoying the mystery too, and it is keeping three very bright children focused and alert -- even when they are learning addition again, only slower this time.

You never know when they might find another clue.


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