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PLB 0-06-027720-3 A broadly comic, slapstick mystery. Seymour Sleuth is called to Borneo where Dr. Irene A. Tann (an orangutan) is searching for the Black Flower of Sumatra, which will cure hiccups. But her quest is being sabotaged’sand in the sugar bowl, knots in the underwear—and threatening notes are arriving. The intrepid Seymour and his faithful assistant and photographer Abbott Muggs search for clues and interview the other members of the camp: a reporter, a local guide, and Dr. Tann’s assistant. Among the clues: chocolate smudges on the notes, and a pin with someone’s initials. Seymour solves the mystery, accompanies the band through the monkey’s maze where they find the Black Flower and another surprise. All the characters are animals and the text is in Sleuth’s notebook printing, with photographs by Muggs attached along with realia like the map of Borneo and their plane tickets. It’s very lightweight, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and gives readers a funny first taste of some of the well-loved elements of mysteries. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 31, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-027719-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

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Case One: The Missing Friendship Bracelet

From the Splunkunio Splunkey Detective and Peacemaker series

Though the text has some amateurish didacticism, this cheerful piece has charm.

Simple, appealing photographs of puppets in a house illustrate this homespun tale about a lost bracelet and a fight between friends.

Ellie Elephant, who wears embroidered jeans and a dungaree cap, is heartbroken because her friendship bracelet is lost and her best friend Eli has gone home angry. Suddenly, her phone rings and a mysterious voice proclaiming to be “a detective and a peacemaker” offers help. She agrees, blinks her eyes three times and meets Splunkunio Splunkey, a tall (compared to puppet-sized elephants), brightly colored alien. They call Eli, who’s still mad but agrees to come over and help retrace the steps that led to the disappearance of the bracelet. Splunkey takes the two elephants through their activities from earlier that day: hide-and-seek, Eli getting stuck under a bed, the bracelet’s sudden disappearance and the yelling and accusations. Of course they find the bracelet and make up, but a plot that could be stale is freshened by the enjoyable photographs and Splunkey’s quirky diction (“ ‘I need to scramdoodle ’cause I’m in a time crunch’ ”; “ ‘Then again, since this case was a piece of cake, how about giving me a piece of cake?’ ”). Each page features two vertical columns of text, one in English and one in Spanish.

Though the text has some amateurish didacticism, this cheerful piece has charm. (4-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-9744812-1-1

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

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