The Missing Chancleta and Other Top-Secret Cases/La Chancleta Perdida y Otros Casos Secretos by Alidis Vicente is narrated by Detective Flaca—a pale, scrawny second grader—who doesn’t usually allow civilians to read her confidential case files. But young readers willing to sign the confidentiality agreement that appears before the three top-secret cases included in this bilingual collection are in luck!
Flaca’s chancleta, or flip flop, has gone missing! She prepares to investigate the theft: “Pencil and notepad: in hand. Straw hat for disguise: on. Magnifying glass: Check.” She interviews each of her family members, all of whom are suspects. Oddly, their stories check out, so Flaca will have to dig deeper to find the culprit.
In “The Case of the Missing China,” Flaca discovers small pieces of china—or oranges for those of Puerto Rican descent—in a fruit cup included in her lunch. She’s allergic to oranges, so she immediately suspects someone is trying to harm her. But who could it be? And in “The Case of the Lost Salsa,” Flaca is dismayed to learn she will have to dance salsa at her older sister’s quinceañera. Attending the birthday party is bad enough, but performing in front of everyone is unimaginable. When Flaca starts dance lessons, she realizes her “salsa” is missing. She uses her finely tuned detective skills to locate her lost dancing abilities, ultimately discovering that one’s inner “salsa” can’t be found with pencil and paper!
The precocious kid detective featured in this collection will surely inspire a host of amateur private investigators.
ALIDIS VICENTE is the author of a picture book, The Coquí and the Iguana (Operation Outreach-USA Press, 2011). She received her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and worked for New Jersey’s Division of Youth and Family Services. She lives with her family in New Jersey.
ARTE PÚBLICO PRESS is the nation’s largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by U.S. Hispanic authors. Based at the University of Houston, Arte Público Press, Piñata Books, it’s imprint for children’s and young adult books, and the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage project provide the most widely recognized and extensive showcase for Hispanic literary arts and