Looking to get your middle-grade readers giggling? Crack open a What Happened? book to investigate a preposterous mystery from four different perspectives. See what the witnesses get right . . . and what they get hilariously wrong. Bet you’ll never guess what really happened! Here are all the details on this silly series.
Ms. Abaza’s fifth-grade class is beyond excited when she brings in live mice for them to care for. The students spend the day thinking up names for their new furry friends. Should they be named after soccer players or computer scientists? The possibilities are endless! Yet when the students arrive the next day, the mouse cage is empty. Did an animal-loving vegan set the mice free? Or were they mouse-napped by a body spray-spritzing villainess who hates how they smell? Maybe they were actually million-dollar mice, stolen by crime bosses for their high value. Unless they mutated, developed superpowers, and escaped on their own . . . Mice don’t just disappear, right?
It’s April Fools’ Day at Harwington Middle School. The eighth graders are on guard for mischief, waiting to see who can top last year’s classic white-toothpaste-filled-Oreos prank. But fake cockroaches are one thing. Missing math tests—and the threat of having to retake the test the following day-are something else. Who could have stolen those tests? Was it a slacker trying to force a retest? Or a lovesick boy hoping to protect a crush from a bad grade? How about a jealous teammate trying to frame the competition? Unless it was the prankster of all pranksters, trying to outdo himself in his last year of middle school.
Sam Witt’s sandwich was a marvel on a plate. The sandwich to end all sandwiches. If life were a movie, there’d have been trumpets and drums playing as Sam paraded his delicious STEAM fair project into class. But not more than two hours after the breathtaking wonder’s arrival at school, the king of all sandwiches was missing. Was it taken hostage by a jealous rival? Swallowed by a runaway tiger? Beamed up to space by alien invaders? Polished off by a rogue substitute teacher whose eyes were bigger than her poor groaning belly? Or was it something else entirely . . . ?
The Quetlock Quavers have reached the pinnacle of their middle school careers: the statewide Music and Variety Talent Contest. They’ve drafted Bert Bishop, retired music teacher and bassist extraordinaire, for an important solo at the start of their opening piece. Rehearsals go off without a hitch, yet when the orchestra takes its place on Stage Two to begin its set, everyone is there except for Bert. Was he ferried away aboard another orchestra’s bus? Maybe he was a casualty of an amateur magician’s trick. Did the dodgy tuna sandwich he ate finally do him in? Unless it was the performance hall’s resident ghost . . . He couldn’t have just vanished, could he?
The Fall Family Fitness Festival promises to be the highlight of Justice Payne Middle School’s year—as long as the sixth graders can overcome their nerves long enough to present their physical activities to the public. But one hour before the festival’s start, students arrive at the gym to a disaster: Hailey’s yoga station and Dawson’s karate station have been trashed. Who would have ruined these stations? Was it a rival karate kid? Or maybe it was Dawson himself, hoping to prevent a recap of his previous disastrous brick-breaking attempt? Was it the new girl trying to take Hailey’s spot in her friend group? Or was it a concerned father, hoping to get his daughter out of the project?
Green Valley Middle School’s theater students knew their production of Pirates and Lost Boys was cursed. After months of snow days, the flu, and flaring rivalries, they have finally made it to opening day. But when the lights go out and props and costumes get wrecked mere hours before showtime, the cast and crew suspect something even worse: sabotage. But who would do such a thing? Was it a self-absorbed pirate worried about being upstaged by the incredible set? Or a brand-new actor fearful of being outperformed? Or maybe it was rival students annoyed at having their talent show moved to the gym. Unless . . . the play couldn’t actually be cursed, could it?
Chart-topping singing sensation Switchback has returned to his hometown of Switchington Falls to open its new music venue. The opening ceremony centers on the unveiling of a life-size statue of Switchback himself. But when the pop star pulls back the covering to reveal the statue to his adoring fans, they discover his glorious face has been replaced by . . . a coat rack? Who would pull off such an insane switcheroo? Was it a gang of local art thieves? Or a band of superfans determined to keep Switchback to themselves? Perhaps a rival pop star pulled this prank. It couldn’t be a gang of zombies mistaking ceramic brains for real ones, right?
Today is the grandest of all sixth-grade days at Marcy G. Middleton Middle School: the Great Ancient Greece Extravaganza. So far, it’s a herculean success, with kids wrapped in bedsheets performing onstage, a backdrop of Mount Olympus standing tall, and a giant cardboard Trojan horse ready to roll. But when the mighty stallion makes its debut onstage, Spartans are left speechless by the Great Trojan . . . Chicken? How, exactly, was the horse transformed? Did a competitive set designer or rival baseball team vandalize it? Perhaps the high school theater teacher introduced this challenge to test the students’ acting skills. Or maybe this is all just a bad dream . . .