That intrepid hitchhiking doll is back—and gone, as his repeat trek from South Carolina to California goes terribly awry, and Tameka enlists the help of Paige Hall, an investigative reporter, to track him down. With the help of Tameka’s Uncle Ray, Paige sets a new wooden figure, Ms. Imogene Poplar, P.I., to tail him. The caper’s format follows very closely in the pattern set in the first outing, featuring letters and postcards sent back and forth between Tameka and Paige, and updates from characters Imogene encounters on the road as she is borne along on Oliver’s trail from Rock Hill to Alaska. (How Oliver ends up in Alaska instead of California is revealed in a sequence that unfolds on the title and copyright pages.) Cepeda’s signature oils-over-acrylic illustrations fairly fizz with energy and good humor, sliding occasional glimpses of Oliver into the backgrounds as Imogene pursues him across the great American landscape. Pattison’s epistolary text does yeomanly work, giving each of Imogene’s helpers a distinctive character and developing a romance subplot between Paige and Uncle Ray. As with its predecessor, understatement and ambiguity are everything; Oliver’s fans will happily embrace both. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-15-205184-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2005

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


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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In this follow-up to Dirk Bones and the Mystery of the Haunted House (2006), the skeleton reporter/detective is on the trail of a missing book by Frankenstein monster–esque writer Edgar Bleek. While searching for clues, Dirk finds a blue, polka-dot leaf; he finds another in the library, only to have Miss Elsa the librarian tell him that Bleek’s books are also missing from her collection. Dirk’s next stop is the bookstore, but when he crosses the Green Lagoon to get there, a swamp monster named Darlene confirms that she has seen the strange leaves before; she then leaps into the water when their owner, a creature reminiscent of the carnivorous plant from Little Shop of Horrors, appears. Instead of longing for blood, Lenore, the Creepus Crawler Talkus vine, longs to read to her babies—aptly called “budding readers.” Dirk’s solution of a library card saves the day while also sending a message to beginning readers about the importance of libraries. Although informed by horror movies, the illustrations play down potential scariness in favor of humor, making this monster mystery a satisfying, accessible title for new readers. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-06-073768-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2009

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