Bernice Takes A Plunge – Book Review

Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Bernice Peppercorn was not a morning person. Jake, on the other hand, was. Breakfast was often bickering on toast.”

How insanely cute does this cover look?! Bernice kind of looks like me when I was younger, but wish I still had that ginger hair! I haven’t read many mystery/adventure books for children before, but seeing as mystery is one of my favourite genres, I was dying to see what this was like – and it was actually better than I imagined! I found this to be perfect, not only for setting up a child to be a mystery fan in their adult life, but to also encourage children to get deeply immersed in an action-packed book from beginning to end. I’m so happy to share my review of this book!

Bernice Peppercorn’s imagination fills her mind and her notebooks with adventure and intrigue. She sees crimes where there are none and races to the local police station daily to fulfill her civic duty.

When a real robbery is committed in town, Bernice dives into detective mode and stumbles across vital clues that could help find the thieves. No one believes her except Ike, a one-legged fisherman who lives down at the wharf.

The beginning

From page one, this book has such a delightful mystery feel that is tailored perfectly to a younger audience. Straight away, I felt curious about the robbery of a famous celebrity and I loved how we’re introduced to a number of fabulous members of the Peppercorn family. Bernice is just a quirky and curious young girl who is very interested in the news story regarding her favourite celebrity, and her brother, Jake, does all he can to be the annoying little brother, but was equally as charming. Bernice’s love of all things mystery is clear; she has a couple of crime fighting contraptions, such as her recorder and motion sensor camera, which made me think she’d be an awesome detective when she grows up. I loved the author’s tone too – things were kept light and easy to read, perfect for the target age range.

“The sun was sinking, but the day wasn’t over yet.”

Bernice seemed to see everything as a potential crime scene and I loved the notes she wrote down in her little notebook, which she then used to fuel her stories. I thought this was a good idea and made a mental note to go outside and do a bit of people watching to get ideas for my own writing! She has a keen eye for detail and it was so entertaining seeing how she went about her every day life and how she interacts with other minor characters in the story. Would she be able to solve the mystery of the unknown robbers of Crystal Bell’s mansion? The book was so pleasant to read and it was so easy to get lost in Bernie’s daily adventures. I was looking forward to seeing what came next and just how Ike, a one legged fisherman, played a crucial part in her detective work.

The middle

I loved how Bernice had taken a liking to Ike the fisherman, even going as far as pretending she had one leg herself to talk to him. She learns so much about him and asks why he chooses to have a wooden leg rather than a fancy prosthetic. I found this enlightening, especially since Bernice went to all the trouble to create her own wooden leg out of a plunger! As well as the fabulous mystery solving elements in this book, I also found a lot of it really wholesome and heartwarming, and the relationship between Bernice and Ike was so special. As Bernice reads the news that Crystal Bell’s valuables are still in the area after the recent robbery, her internal detective mode is switched back on and she is determined to find them. I wondered how Ike could help her and if she’d be successful. Surely helping the police would be a dream come true for her!

“But if he knows me better and likes me really well, then a little thing like a fake peg leg won’t make a difference. I can still visit him at the wharf.”

Bernice has the most fun in a rowboat and Ike becomes such a good friend. However, I was desperate to see a little more mystery in the book, even though I was thoroughly enjoying every other aspect! Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait too long – with flashes of mystery light on the Thumbtip as well as the unsolved mystery of Crystal Bell’s missing valuables, she needed to get to the bottom of each problem. With no one on her side, Bernice chooses to investigate herself, ignoring the warning signs of an incoming storm. Could she make it across the water safely as she quite literally takes the plunge? Danger was mounting and I just hoped she managed to stay safe! The author has really kept readers captivated throughout this story, and things were only getting more exciting. How would things end?

The end

Even thought this book is for a younger audience, I thought the suspenseful scenes were enough to keep any adult glued to their seat! I was amazed with how well the author pulled off so much dangerous description and made us realise just how strong Bernice and Ike’s friendship is. At one point, I was even left wondering if the two characters would make it out of this storm alive! I couldn’t fault the story line – so much incredible description and heartfelt scenes made me nearly tear up and I was unable to keep my eyes off the pages. You can easily feel like you’re right there with the characters in the story, which I feel is such an impressive skill for an author to possess. With the end of the story coming ever closer, would Bernice ever get the answers to the mysteries she’s become so involved in?

“When you needed me, I was there. When I needed you, you were there. That’s what friends are for.”

Bernice makes a shocking discovery over on the Thumbtip, but as we learn more about the truth, things aren’t what they seemed on the surface! The ending of the story just solidifies the importance of friendship, sticking to your guns and to always having the confidence in what you’re good at. I also enjoyed the solving of the mystery so so much. I loved the whole ending and found it to be the perfect finale to an already perfect little book! I think there could be so many more wonderful stories about Bernice in the future and I feel like we really haven’t seen the last of her yet. A definite five star read for children, one that I’ll definitely be recommending!

Overall thoughts

This is such a delightful little book about a young girl with big ambitions. From start to end, I admired the strong female lead character who is such a fabulous role model for children (not to mention adorable!), the action-packed, mystery adventure and the beautiful, easy to read tone from the author. I thoroughly enjoyed Bernice’s journey, and especially how she was such a bright, clever girl who doesn’t hesitate but to question everything around her. This story most certainly brightened up my day – the author has nailed it!

Thanks so much to the author of this beautiful book, Ann Harth, and James at Henry Roi PR for my copy to review! You can purchase your own copy of Bernice Takes A Plunge on Amazon now, available on Kindle and in paperback. Make sure you follow the author over on Facebook and Twitter for more updates!

Looking for your next book review?

If you’d like a book review from me, please get in touch! See my book reviews page for more information.

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