A whodunit for newly independent readers with wordplay galore.
Detective Wilcox and Capt. Griswold are two anthropomorphic mice on the crime beat at the farm. They are “Missing Food Investigators.” The text that follows their story is broken up into some sections that emulate police logs and short chapters with narrative text and dialogue. Both parts, however, are laden with puns. “The poached egg” of the title is a stolen egg belonging to one Henrietta Hen. When she calls to report the crime Wilcox asks, “Did she fly the coop?” The MFIs interrogate various suspects about potential “fowl play” around the farm, including the loquacious Gabby Goose and Col. Peck, the rooster. Handwriting analysis and the thief’s slip-up at an egg contest lead the rodent gumshoes to the culprit, a “rotten egg” indeed, by the end of the book. Cartoon illustrations bolster the humor of the text and will provide some context clues, though the layout is rather cluttered and the text is likely too complex in large, overwhelming text blocks for many new readers; kids readying themselves to move on to chapter books should find it a suitable challenge.
A hard-boiled text for determined new readers in pursuit of wordplay. (Early reader. 7-8)