The Missing Baseball (The Zach & Zoe Mysteries #1)

by Mike Lupica (Author)

The Missing Baseball (The Zach & Zoe Mysteries #1)
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Perfect for fans of Cam Jansen, #1 New York Times bestseller Mike Lupica begins an exciting new chapter-book series, featuring his trademark sports action and heart, and a lovable twin brother-sister duo who solve sports-related mysteries.

There's nothing eight-year-old twins Zach and Zoe Walker love more than playing sports and solving mysteries. And when those two worlds collide . . . well, it doesn't get any better than that. So when a baseball signed by Zach's favorite major league player suddenly goes missing--the search is on! Luckily, amateur sleuths Zach and Zoe are on the case. Can they solve the mystery and find the ball before it's lost for good?

In this first book of the Zach and Zoe Mysteries, bestselling author Mike Lupica begins a series for a new and younger audience, introducing readers to a sports-loving detective duo who can swing for the fences and catch the culprit in one fell swoop. With a recipe equal parts sports and mystery, the Zach and Zoe Mysteries break fresh ground for an author who has been called the greatest sportswriter for kids.

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Kirkus Reviews

Lupica kicks off a new series starring a pair of 8-year-old twins who solve sports-themed mysteries . . . Along with plenty of suspenseful sports action, the author highlights in both tales the values of fair play, teamwork, and doing the "right thing." . . . the supporting cast shows some racial and ethnic diversity. Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd.

School Library Journal

Gr 1-4—Zach and Zoe are twins with a passion for sports of all kinds. In the first entry of this new series, The Missing Baseball, Zach brings his most special autographed baseball to school for sharing with his classmates. It goes missing, and Zoe is on the case. In between gathering clues, the twins play soccer, basketball, and baseball. The mystery comes to a gentle ending and a climatic baseball game is won by Zoe with good sportsmanship shown by her loyal brother. In the second title, The Half-Court Hero, the twins are in a weekend basketball tournament. The court where they are to play is in pretty rough shape: broken benches, no nets, and it's in need of repainting. A mysterious benefactor begins nightly repairs on the court, and Zoe and Zach gather clues to solve the mystery of the do-gooder. All is neatly wrapped up at the end of this short chapter book. Zach and Zoe are likable and kind to each other, and their parents are supportive. Lupica knows how to write sports action with a heart, but his skill as a mystery writer for the chapter book crowd is not as refined. The clues are a bit too obvious and the resolution to the puzzles is not terribly engaging. Kids will appreciate that the sports action doesn't focus on just one sport per title, but the mystery elements won't keep many readers puzzling—they will have figured it out long before the twins do. VERDICT Give these to young readers who are looking for easy sports fiction or who are new to the mystery genre. An additional selection.—John Scott, Friends School of Baltimore

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Mike Lupica is bringing his sports knowledge and excellent writing ability to the chapter book world...[Zach and Zoe] have exciting playoff games, supportive parents, and act true to their ages . . . there is no evil involved in the mysteries, and the community is supportive. It is evident early on who or what is behind the mysteries, but this should be a positive for youngsters who are just getting started with guessing the outcomes of chapter books."—School Library Connection

Mike Lupica
Mike Lupica is a NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of several books for young readers. His NEW YORK DAILY NEWS column is syndicated nationally. Mr. Lupica lives in Connecticut with his wife and their four children. You can visit Mike Lupica at
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication date
May 20, 2018
The Zach & Zoe Mysteries

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