TOUGH COOKIE

PLB 0-688-15338-0 Sometimes the way the cookie crumbles is a saving grace, particularly in this clever spoof on a hard-boiled detective tale, set inside the cookie jar. The “tough cookie” who narrates is a trenchcoat-wearing, gruff detective who came from a good family—“Lots of dough. Lived the high life. Top of the Jar.” But when he hit bottom, he became a P.I. Now he’s tracking the culprit who’s making mayhem out of the cookie jar by snatching away cookies such as the Pfefferneuses, and roughing up the tough cookie’s partner, Chips. Some quick thinking on the part of the P.I.’s delicious (a politically correct adjective, in this case) former girlfriend, Pecan Sandy, and a crowd of cookie crumbs thwarts the greedy fingers once and for all. The hero gets his man—or hand—and the girl. Wisniewski (The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups, 1998, etc.) is dead-on witty, while his torn-paper collages have a authentically crumbly look. The puns are numerous, but good, and visual details’such as the map of the Jar, a wanted poster showing the shadowy outline “Fingers,” and more—guarantee lots of giggles for onlookers young and old. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-15337-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

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THE HIGH-RISE PRIVATE EYES

THE CASE OF THE PUZZLING POSSUM

Bunny Brown and Jack Jones, ace detectives, join forces again to solve their third easy-reader mystery in this snappy new series from Newbery Medalist Rylant, author of the beloved Henry and Mudge books. Bunny the bunny is the practical brains of the detective duo, and Jack the raccoon is her humorous sidekick, who is even funnier in this book than in the previous volumes, The Case of the Missing Monkey (not reviewed) and The Case of the Climbing Cat (2000). In this case, Bunny and Jack solve the chronic disappearance (and reappearance) of a trombone from a neighborhood music store. The puzzling possum of the title, Freddy, has been repeatedly "borrowing" the trombone so he can play at hayride entertainments with Gus's Big Brass Boys. Bunny and Jack nab him red-handed, and Bunny offers the practical solution of paying for the trombone by giving lessons at the music store. The combination easy-reader, easy-mystery follows the established format of a few clues, a mild neighborhood mystery, and lots of clever puns and jokes that will delight the intended audience. The humor is exactly on track for the early elementary grades, including a squashed marshmallow on Jack's seat and a quick rush to the bathroom following some dizzying explanations by the music-store owner (just the sort of jokes first graders adore). Karas's engaging illustrations in acrylic, gouache, and pencil help create unique personalities for Bunny and Jack. It's no mystery why this series is successful, and this endearing duo seems destined to crack many more cases of minor mischief in their urban neighborhood. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2001

ISBN: 0-688-16308-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2001

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PET DETECTIVES

Policeman Jack’s cat and dog team, Kitty and Belle, are an unusual crime-busting duo: Kitty is a shrewd mouser, while lazy Belle would rather sleep. When a wily burglar picks the lock and breaks into Policeman Jack’s house, Kitty jumps on top of the thief’s head, while Belle rouses from a nap to growl and chase the burglar out the door. They are rewarded with a TV appearance on the nightly news. In a tale told entirely in verse, the entrance of the burglar functions more as a device to break up the monotony than for building suspense or creating comedy. O’Malley saves the day with his portraits of the highly personable pets, including one picture of the appropriately sleepy Belle, bloodshot eye open amidst folds of fur. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8167-4952-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

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