Two police mice, one missing cake, a bunch of suspects—it’s a big case!
When Miss Rabbit leaves her carrot cake (with cream-cheese icing) out to cool and returns later to find only a mess of crumbs, she calls Detective Wilcox and Capt. Griswold. Over 100 animals on Ed’s farm means there’s a lot of suspects. Tongue firmly in cheek, Wilcox tells the story of this challenging case in clipped tones reminiscent of Dragnet. Fowler, the observant owl, loves rabbits, he informs readers. “She liked them for breakfast. She liked them for lunch. And she loved them for dinner.” His narration is peppered with food references that elevate this entertaining mystery, already fizzing with humor and inside jokes. To open their investigation, they slide down the rabbit hole, but Miss Rabbit does not have a crumb of an idea. The repeated food-based idioms (hard nut to crack, slower than molasses, take the cake) alternate with puns that a young reader will appreciate. When questioning Porcini the pig, Wilcox accuses, “Seems like you’ve spent some time in the pen.” The droll language is complemented with full-color cartoon illustrations that extend the text and add to the laughter. Readers ready for chapter books will solve the crime and then be surprised by the twist at the end.
Here’s hoping for more hard-boiled detecting from Wilcox and Griswold! (Mystery. 5-9)