This mystery book by Carolyn Keene is the first in the "Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew" series and is published by Aladdin Paperbacks, an imprint of the Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division.
Sleepover Sleuths is written for kids ages 6 to 9. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
As Nancy Drew and her friends Bess Marvin and George Fayne leave school on Friday, fellow classmate Deirdre Shannon invites them to a birthday slumber party on Saturday. Each guest is to bring a doll from the City Girls line.
At Deirdre's house on Saturday afternoon, there is a cloth-covered object on a table next to the gift table. The mystery object — a Hollywood-themed doll from the City Girls line — is unveiled later. One of the guests, Nadine Nardo, is upset because she has been saving for the same doll but hasn't been able to afford it yet.
After cake and ice cream, Deirdre puts her new doll on the windowsill with the help of her taller friend Trina Vanderhoof. The guests stack their backpacks and duffel bags under the window, and they take a group photo. Then everyone settles in for the night.
In the morning, the doll is gone. Deirdre and her guests, except Marcy Rubin's little sister, Cassidy, search for it. Marcy's parents had plans, so Cassidy came to the party with Marcy. Instead of helping look for the doll, Cassidy sits on her blanket, holding her backpack.
The group doesn't find the doll. After breakfast, Deirdre asks her best friend, Madison Foley, to help her look again, but Madison can't. Everyone leaves except Nancy, Bess and George. Deirdre asks Nancy to find the doll. Nancy agrees. Bess and George help Nancy look for clues. They find white fuzz on the windowsill and an orange button on the floor.
Back at Nancy's house on Sunday morning, the three girls type their case notes. Nancy gets a message from another classmate that Nadine just got the Hollywood-themed doll. The girls decide to go into town for lunch while they talk more about the case.
A half block from where they intend to eat, the three girls see Nadine and her mother. It looks like there is a doll in the bag Nadine is holding. While Nadine is waiting outside for her mother, George sneaks up to look into Nadine's bag and is caught. The bag rips and the doll falls out. Nadine tried to make one of her other City Girls dolls look like the Hollywood-themed doll, but she didn't take Deirdre's new doll.
At the restaurant, Nancy, Bess and George see Madison, but she is too busy to join them. The girls also see Cassidy and her backpack. Nancy attempts to check out the backpack and is caught by Cassidy and Marcy. Cassidy watched cartoons Saturday morning at Deirdre's. In her backpack is the last piece of cake that Deirdre's mom gave her, not the missing doll.
Sunday night after dinner, Deirdre calls Nancy for an update. Deirdre hadn't told her parents about the missing doll, and her father wants her to bring the doll to a tea outing the next day after school.
Nancy talks to Trina at recess on Monday. Trina knows what the fuzzy stuff is, but doesn't tell Nancy. Trina also denies taking the doll. She goes back to playing basketball. Nancy, Bess and George figure out that the fuzz is cat hair from Deirdre's cat. Nancy thinks Deirdre's cat jumped on the windowsill and knocked off the doll, but they still don't know where the missing doll is or who has it.
After school, the three friends go to Nancy's house. A classmate's email tells Nancy that party pictures are posted on Deirdre's website. Madison's bag is in one of the pictures, and it has orange buttons. Nancy, Bess and George go to Madison's house to ask her if she has the doll. At first Madison says no. When the three girls tell Madison what they think happened and that they believe it was an accident, Madison tells them that she found the doll in her bag during the search but was afraid to tell Deirdre. On top of that, the doll's arm is broken. Bess fixes the doll.
The four girls go to Deirdre's house. Madison tells her what happened. Deirdre is glad to get the doll back and is relieved they are still friends. She's also glad Madison told her the truth. Madison credits Nancy for giving her the courage to come forward. Madison and Deirdre have tea together. As Nancy, Bess and George leave, Madison encourages them to continue in their detective work. The girls think that sounds like fun and give themselves a name — the Clue Crew.
Hannah Gruen, the family housekeeper, has worked for the Drew family since Nancy's mother died. Nancy was 3 at the time, and since then Hannah has become more like a family member than an employee. As Nancy prepares for the sleepover, Hannah makes sure Nancy has all the important things for the night — a sleeping bag, clothes and a doll.
Nancy's father is a busy attorney, but he still makes Nancy a priority. He chauffeurs when he can, driving Nancy, Bess and George to the sleepover. He listens to Nancy when she wants to talk about the case and encourages her by offering little bit of advice. He expresses confidence that Nancy can solve the case.
Nancy's, Bess' and George's parents agree on a rule for all three girls — they can walk five blocks in the community by themselves if they are together.
Deirdre's parents are active hosts at the party. Her father takes pictures as the guests arrive. Once inside, Deirdre's mother directs the guests downstairs. Deirdre's parents bring them pizza, and later birthday cake. For one of the games the girls play, Deirdre's mother hides a present for them to find. Deirdre's parents serve the party guests a hot breakfast.
George's mother owns a catering business. On an errand for her business, she is willing to drive Nancy, Bess and George into town so they can have lunch at a pizza place. When Nadine unsuccessfully gives one of her dolls a make-over, Nadine's mother is willing to take Nadine to get the doll fixed but asks her not to try that again with any other dolls.
Other belief systems
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- How did Nancy use her skills to find the hidden present?
How is she able to guess the school lunch menu?
How do you think she felt her friends recognized her talent?
When was the last time you encouraged one of your friends in what she was good at?
Who around you could use an encouragement about her character, skills or talents?
When will you let this person know that you think well of her?
- Why doesn't Deirdre think Trina's doll is a part of the City Girls line?
How does Deirdre finally realize the doll is in the City Girls line?
Does she admit this to Trina?
What would you do if you were in Deirdre's place and realized you were wrong?
- What frustrates Marcy about her little sister?
How does she stand up for her little sister at the pizza place?
Think about your siblings, friends or relatives.
What are some things that are hard for you to talk about with them?
What do you appreciate about them?
Describe a time when you were publically supportive of them.
Was that easy or hard for you to do? Explain.
What are some other ways you could be more supportive of them?
- Why doesn't Deirdre want to ask her parents to help her look for her doll?
Describe a time when you wanted to do something on your own and didn't want to ask for help.
Why didn't you want to ask for help?
What did you decide to do?
How did the situation turn out?
- How does Nancy play the role of peacemaker at the party?
Have you ever had to play the role of peacemaker?
How did you help others work through a disagreement?
Who do you know acts as a peacemaker?
- Why doesn't Madison tell Deirdre that she has her doll?
How does she feel threatened by Trina?
Have you ever felt like you were losing a friend?
Like you were being replaced by a new friend?
How did it make you feel?
How did you respond?
What is that friendship like now?
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