• Michelle Nott

How to Catch a Thief...

The Powwow Thief written by Joseph Bruchac and illustrated by Dale Deforest, published by Reycraft Books.

Titles in the Powwow series include The Powwow Dog and The Powwow Treasure. For this review, I will highlight the first book in the series, The Powwow Thief.


Bruchac's story introduces readers to twins, Jamie and Marie Longbow, and their extended family the day of a powwow. As the title implies, there will be a mystery to solve which keeps young readers turning the page.


I really appreciate this story about an indigenous community on a particularly fun day they all look forward to as a family. Readers from all communities can relate to special days when everyone might where special clothes, anticipate special treats, and dance to specific music. I love that this story shows native kids just being kids -- their sibling dynamics, playing around, and the fun of solving a mystery! It teaches readers about some of the traditions around a powwow without the story being solely about differences in culture.


As much as learning specifically about cultures is important, so is letting kids read and enjoy stories about themselves and others in their daily lives. As such, the narrative welcomes all kids into the adventure and promotes understanding and friendship.


The Powwow Thief will amuse readers with an enjoyable cast of characters in a unique setting as the siblings use their special talents to find the thief who stole their grandmother's necklace. Readers will also enjoy Deforest's bold, colorful illustrations in a hybrid picture book and graphic novel format divided into chapters-- enjoyable and ideal for reluctant or new readers, but also for the not yet independent readers.


Imagine It!


We learn early in this story that Jamie and Marie have specific interests and talents that ultimately help solve the mystery of the stolen necklace.


What is one of your interests or skills? What is an interest or skill your sibling, friend, or classmate has?


Imagine a special occasion in your community. Imagine a mystery that could arise that only your skills, along with your partner's, could solve.


Write a short story or draw pictures or act out the scenario of solving the particular mystery. Or, you could do all three. Imagine how fun that would be!



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