An interpretation that’s notable more for its materials than its content.



From the Fairytale Cottages series

An abbreviated version of the classic home-invasion tale, with die-cut windows and press-out figures.

“Somebody’s eaten my porridge, and broke my chair!” cries Baby Bear, abandoning grammar to move the tale along to a quick climax. The cartoon illustrations are similarly minimalist, featuring a trio of brown, generic bears with ursine heads and paws but human bodies and garb. Goldilocks is a pink-cheeked white urchin in a pink polka-dot shift who races off at the end despite the forgiving Baby Bear’s invitation to stay and play ball. As Baby Bear also gets blamed for leaving the door open at the outset, the tale will serve helicopter parents equally well as a base for discussions of home safety or ethics in general. Perhaps more relevantly for the diapered intended audience, to make the house-shaped pages easy to grasp and turn, the pictures are printed on light card stock that is glued to layers of soft foamcore. The four press-out pieces are superfluous to the story but do at least offer further opportunity to practice motor skills by pulling them out of their form-fitting niches and pressing them back in. They are also eminently chewable, so it’s good to see child-safety ratings on the rear cover.

An interpretation that’s notable more for its materials than its content. (Board book. 1-2)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7641-6817-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Barron's

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Two one-dimensional detection cases of the sort that seem to be proliferating. These feature the Bloodhound Gang of TV's 3-2-1 Contact. In The Case of the Cackling Ghost, Professor Bloodhound's three young employees—ages 10, 15, and 16—are summoned to a large country house, where an old woman is bothered by nightly visits from a ghost. The ghost, the trio soon discovers, is really clumps of moths attracted by pheromones—an illusion cooked up by the woman's debt-ridden nephew who hopes to frighten her into turning over her precious, but reputedly curse-ridden necklace. In . . . Princess Tomrorow, the gang is called as witnesses for a shady couple who pretend to predict horse-race results—but the corroborating letter received by the agency has actually been mailed after the race. The one they witnessed being mailed before the race has been invalidated by a wet but deliberately glueless postage stamp. They're both clever tricks, but of a sort that usually come five or ten to a volume. There's no attempt to flesh out the puzzles, and not a trace of the Fleischman wit and vigor.

Pub Date: April 1, 1981

ISBN: 0394946731

Page Count: 63

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1981

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These latest adventures of the Bloodhound Gang (from public TV's 3-2-1 Contact) have a little more zip than the dismally perfunctory lust two (p. 800, J-186), but there is still little evidence of the Fleischman wit, inventiveness, and high spirits. And of course the idea of three kids investigating for an insurance company is too far-fetched for any nine-year-old's reality meter. But that's the situation in The Case of the Flying Clock, when Vikki, Ricardo, and Zach check out the theft of a snobbish horologist's flying pendulum clock. "Once belonged to Louis," says pompous Mr. Keefe—Louis XVI, that is. But because they know that steam will fog a mirror and salty water makes objects more buoyant, the Gang deduces that Mr. Keefe did not see a red-haired robber, as he claimed, but instead dumped his plastic-wrapped clock in his wishing-well pending future removal. The Case of the Secret Message brings the Bloodhounds up against a purse snatcher, a smuggler called Mr. Big, his bodyguard Muscles, and a little old lady who seems first a victim, then a cohort, and at last reveals herself as a young policewoman. Perhaps the point of the series is that the TV tie-in will lead habitual viewers to print. In any case, these belong with the merchandise mysteries.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1981

ISBN: 0394847652

Page Count: 68

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1981

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