Here it is! My first book for the challenge. I chose Cam Jansen over all the other titles on our first column of shelves because I remember it being incredibly popular with my elementary students when I was student teaching. I really didn’t know much about the series before I read this title, only that it was a mystery series involving a young heroine whom the series is named after. I was fortunate enough to find the first book in this series, “Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds“, on the shelf, so I was able to experience how the series started.
Cam Jansen is a mystery series that uses Cam’s unique photographic memory to solve mysteries. Cam and her friend Eric witness a jewelry store robbery in the mall and notice what the police fail to; the man who ran out of the jewelry leaves in the same direction as a suspicious couple did. Cam and Eric follow the suspicious character back to their hideout, where Cam manages to discover how the robbery was committed while her friend Eric gets the police.
The one thing that stood out to me while reading this book is how negligent the parents seem to be. Cam, Eric, and Eric’s baby brother were left alone in the mall while the mother went off shopping with Eric’s twin sisters. Cam and Eric then take this baby with them through a run down neighborhood and get caught by potentially dangerous criminals. I realize this story was published in 1980, and parenting was different back then, but this still seems very irresponsible.
The pictures are also pretty dated, but there are newer editions of Cam Jansen’s adventures that have better artwork for the 21st century reader.
Overall, Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds is a lighthearted mystery that readers as early as second grade can enjoy. The writing is simplistic and easy to follow along with, the addition of pictures helps to cement the context for early readers who are starting chapter books.