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Zach & Zoe and the Bank Robber
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Zach & Zoe and the Bank Robber

By Kristin Butcher

$8.95 Paperback
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Series: Lorimer Streetlights

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P>Zach and Zoe suspect that their neighbour Mr. Dotty is hiding a terrible secret - he's a bank robber! He looks exactly like the thief they saw on the news, but he's a kind, tree-hugging environmentalist - could he really be the culprit? Ordinary kids, Zach and Zoe, become sleuths and set out to solve the mystery.

[Fry Reading Level - 2.8


Commended - Canadian Children's Book Centre "Best Books for Kids & Teens" - 2009

Short-listed - Diamond Willow Award - 2010

Short-listed - Red Cedar Award - 2011

"The dialogue and action-filled plot move the story along at a fast pace, and many of the chapters end at a suspenseful point. This story would be a good choice for a grade one to four read aloud or for a unit study on environmental issues such as disappearing marshlands or intergenerational friendships."

- Tanya Boudreau CM Magazine - Volume 15, Number 10

Ten-year-old twins Zach and Zoe are shocked when they recognize a bank robber's face on TV. It looks like the person who stole a quarter of a million dollars is their friend and backyard neighbor Mr. Dotty, the same Mr. Dotty who refuses to own any ozone destroying cars or lawnmowers; the guy who composts and recycles everything (including birthday cards) and takes the twins for weekly excursions to the marsh eight blocks down the road.

Although Zach and Zoe can't believe their eyes when they see their neighbor on the screen, it might explain Mr. Dotty's odd behavior, frugal lifestyle, and recent evasiveness. The last time they spoke to him, he was ghostly white. There was sweat rolling off his face and a dazed look in his eyes. He didn't look like himself, and he certainly didn't act like himself. Zach and Zoe saw Mr. Dotty skip work, take a taxi, go on a trip and lock up his garage- all things he's refused to do before. Determined to find evidence that proves Mr. Dotty's to be innocent, Zach and Zoe decide to search Mr. Dotty's locked garage. The first time they go in, they find a suitcase full of money. The second time they go in, it's to prevent Mr. Dotty from going to jail.

Just when the author has convinced us Mr. Dotty is the bank robber, we learn the truth. It seems Mr. Dotty did come into some money, but he was acting strangely for very different reasons. In this newest book by Kristin Butcher, Zach and Zoe prove themselves to be excellent problem solvers and loyal friends- to people and marshland inhabitants!

Zach, the narrator of the story, and his sometimes bossy and inquisitive sister, Zoe, are two characters children will enjoy getting to know. They live an exciting life. There are sleep-outs in the backyard at night, and there is crime solving in the neighborhood during the day. When they are at the marsh, their imaginations enable them to take hundreds of pictures with film-less cameras. Although their sense of duty is strong and sometimes leads them into some risky situations, Zach and Zoe can be admired for their good hearts.

Set in Victoria, BC, (with a bank robbery in Winnipeg, MB), each of the 14 chapters in this book is six to ten pages in length. The dialogue and action-filled plot move the story along at a fast pace, and many of the chapters end at a suspenseful point. This story would be a good choice for a grade one to four read aloud or for a unit study on environmental issues such as disappearing marshlands or intergenerational friendships.

Winnipeg-born author Kristin Butcher, who now lives in BC, has written many books for children and young adults, including the Silver Birch Award winning book, The Runaways. The second book in the Zach and Zoe series is scheduled to be out in 2009.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

CM Magazine - January 2009.

- Tanya Boudreau CM Magazine - Volume 15, Number 10

Educator turned writer Kristin Butcher has published twelve books for children and young adults, with dozens more still waiting to be written. She is the author of The Gamma War, a Red Cedar Award shortlist title, and The Runaways, a Silver Birch Award regional winner. She lives in Campbell River, British Columbia.

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Publication Details:

Binding: Paperback, 112 pages
Publication Date: 15th May 2008
ISBN: 9781552770153
Format: 7.75in x 5in

BISAC Code:  JUV028000, JUV030030
Imprint: Lorimer

Interest age: From 8 To 12
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 2.8


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Streetlights series

Streetlights Series

Easy-to-read novels for young readers

Series features

  • Great novels full of humour and adventure
  • Short chapters and dynamic stories make for reading success
  • Feature a variety of kids

"Written with clarity and simplicity; this appealing chapter book brings characters to life through believable dialogue and telling details."
- American Library Association

These easy-to-read novels hook young readers with their humour and a sense of adventure while helping to develop a love of reading. The series, written by award-winning authors, has stories that show kids how to overcome obstacles of all kinds, and how to approach firnedship, problem-solving, competition and co-operation in a positive way.