NURSERY CRIMES

This whimsical whodunit, longer on visual appeal than internal logic, kicks off with the overnight disappearance of a crop of huge turkey topiaries from the nursery-cum-salvage-yard of aptly named Jambonneau and his dainty wife Merville de Peru. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, is their business ruined? And is this the work of notorious topiary thief Voler? Clues point that way, but not clearly enough to make an accusation, because Voler’s yard is stuffed with similar-looking leafy gobblers. Typically, children willing to study Geisert’s colored etchings will have a field day picking out the details. The bereft gardeners, with their 12 energetic children, live in a house constructed from railroad cars and an Iowa school bus, surrounded by giant pumpkins, plus inviting reefs of building and machine parts. In the end, Merville—or “Marva,” as she is known—outwits Voler by choosing deciduous shrubs to shape; those too disappear, but come the first hard frost they change color, standing out in Voler’s yard like sore thumbs, and off to jail he goes. It’s a Thanksgiving story with a difference, played out con brio by an all-porcine cast. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-618-06487-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walter Lorraine/Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

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This funny, endearing addition to the series will delight early readers, especially dog lovers.

KING & KAYLA AND THE CASE OF THE LOST TOOTH

From the King & Kayla series

King and Kayla, the detective duo, are back to solve the mystery of Kayla’s missing tooth.

King, the happy and hilarious golden retriever narrator, anxiously awaits the return of his human, Kayla, who’s been at school for “eleventy seven hours. Maybe even eleventy seven days.” When Kayla finally arrives home, she has big news: She’s lost a tooth! Kayla is excited to use her class’s tooth-fairy pillow that night, but, alas, her tooth is missing! Though King discovers the pillow smells like turkey sandwiches (his favorite food), just like Kayla’s teeth, her tooth is nowhere to be found. The pair checks the car, the last place Kayla saw the tooth, and King finds lots of crumbs (more of his favorite foods) but no tooth. And so it goes, and Kayla must go to bed with an empty pillow. In the morning, Kayla finds a dollar, a dog treat, and a note from the tooth fairy even though her tooth wasn’t there. But when King notices the pillow still smells like turkey sandwiches, he’s found the final clue. Each page includes illustrations that are often humorous and highlight the affection between King and Kayla, who is depicted with brown skin and Afro-textured hair.

This funny, endearing addition to the series will delight early readers, especially dog lovers. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-56145-880-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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DIRK BONES AND THE MYSTERY OF THE HAUNTED HOUSE

The creator of Aunt Eater and Inspector Hopper opens a new easy-reader series featuring an even less conventional sleuth. Two specters haunting a house in the aptly named town of Ghostly are frightened by mysterious, un-ghostly clackings and clickings. Enter Dirk Bones, skeletal investigative journalist for the Ghostly Tombs. Properly outfitted in trench coat and green fedora, Bones sets out into a stormy night on a successful investigation that takes him from creepy basement to spooky graveyard, and includes encounters with a terrified werewolf, a vampire Emeril wannabe and other typical town residents—all easily recognizable but decidedly non-menacing figures in the cartoon illustrations. A burbling cauldron of “bat foot stew with crispy worm brains” is but one of the shivery delights that await emergent readers in this not-too-creepy caper. Stay tuned for sequels. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-073764-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2006

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