In her fourth adventure a young sleuth makes new friends both human and otherwise, organizes a costume party, and fosters a romance.
At the invitation of a nattily clad fox with purple fur who has turned one of her elegant apartment building’s rubbish bins into comfortable digs of his own, Ottoline Brown takes an “Urban Safari” that introduces her to her city’s nocturnal animal residents. These range from meerkats popping out of manholes, herds of tiny zebras, and blue flamingos roosting on the public library’s roof to the Crimson Vixen, a street poet who works as the fox’s assistant but is too shy to show that she has feelings for him. Having learned this last at the party, Ottoline and her silent, hairy companion, Mr. Munroe, organize a talent show that culminates in triumph with the vulpine couple engaging in an intimate (wait for it) foxtrot. As in previous episodes, this fey tale is related in a mix of short narrative passages with many fantastically meticulous line drawings featuring bold monochrome highlights (purple, here) and gracefully posed figures in finely detailed garb and surroundings. Ottoline heads a large cast of friends and housekeepers that is less diverse of race and ethnicity than of species, but, bearing as she does a distinct resemblance to Eloise in her upper-class, parent-free lifestyle, she continues to exhibit appealing self-confidence no matter how odd or surreal the situation. Riddell twice provides folding directions for a paper “Fancy Dress Fortune Teller” tucked into a rear pocket.
Mannered but pleasantly peculiar. (Graphic fantasy. 10-12)