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THE WEB FILES by Margie Palatini


by Margie Palatini & illustrated by Richard Egielski

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7868-0419-X
Publisher: Hyperion

There’s trouble brewing in the barnyard, and it’s up to Ducktective Web and his faithful sidekick Bill to sort it out. In Palatini’s (Mooseltoe, 2000, etc.) highly referential and pun-filled plot, the two dauntless ducks try to track down the culprit who stole a peck of the hen’s perfect purple, almost-pickled peppers. No, it’s not who you think, although the web-footed flatfoots encounter several familiar characters when the usual suspects are interrogated: a cornered Horner and the boy in blue frantically offer up alibis in a police station filled with blind mice and mittenless kittens, among others. Punctuated by a soundtrack—“DUM DE DUM DUM”—the plot takes the quacking coppers from crime scene to crime scene, till at last they catch up with . . . That Dirty Rat (“Book him, Ducko”). Egielski’s (Three Magic Balls, 2000, etc.) trademark cartoony illustrations depict a crowded, uncannily urban barnyard in which horses wear suits and helmets as they commute to work on bicycles, and a high-rise coop looms over the hen’s house. His stern Ducktective Web bears a remarkable resemblance to Sergeant Joe Friday. Paced breathlessly, related in a deadpan first-person narration by the Ducktective himself, the story’s outrageous silliness will tickle children—even as the references to old TV detective shows will delight the adults who read it to them. (Picture book. 5-8)