Fan Mail Wednesday #51-52 (Tuesday Edition)

Sometimes fan mail can be incredibly uplifting, thoughtful, perceptive, touching. And sometimes a kid just wants to say hello, just wants to connect somehow. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s great.

Dear Mr. James Preller,

My name is James and I am seven years old.  I like your Jigsaw Jones
books.  They are exciting.

Your Friend,


I replied:

Dear James,

Thank you for taking the time to send that note. I’m glad you like my books. From the beginning, I’ve always thought of those books as “entertainments,” lively stories that were fast-paced and fun to read. Hopefully you take a little ride and touch down softly at the end.

Have a great summer — and don’t forget to keep reading. My kids just signed up with a Summer Reading Program through the local library, because we want them to read all summer long. Otherwise their brains turn to oatmeal and they stare vacantly into space, mouth agape, drool hanging from their lower lips. It isn’t pretty. And we don’t want that, do we? Besides, there are so many great books out there, so much to read and learn.

By the way, I noticed that you share the same last name as one of the boys in Jigsaw’s class. Did you know that? He’s featured most prominently in books #11 and #27.


Letter #52:

My son is enjoying your books.  I am looking for a complete list of the books because I am having to search the surrounding libraries to find them.  Hopefully you can help….at least let me know how many have been written.  Thanks.

My answer:

Dear Steve:

Well, you win the Parent-of-the-Week Award. Look out your window, a truck will soon be arriving that contains a large box, with six air holes, shipped from South America. It is your prize. That’s right, you’ve won a live anaconda, one of the largest and most powerful snakes in the world. Be warned: It kills its prey by constriction, so avoid hugs or other friendly overtures. And please, pish and tosh, no need to thank me, don’t mention it.

Wikipedia has a fairly current list of Jigsaw Jones titles, just click here. In brief, there are 32 books, numbers 1-32. Then there are six so-called Super Specials, numbered 1-6. There’s also a collection of detective tips, ingeniously titled, Jigsaw Jones’ Detective Tips. In September, there’s a new one coming out on Scholastic Book Clubs, The Case of the Secret Skeleton (and it’s pretty awesome).

If my math is correct, that makes 40 titles in all. So it’s not like I’ve been sitting around eating chocolates.

At this point, I really don’t understand what’s happening with the books. A growing number seem to be out-of-print or available only through book clubs. Dying on the vine, as my friend would describe it. So good luck with your search. And careful with that anaconda.

Thanks for your interest.


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