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From the Wilcox & Griswold Mystery series

Completely “pig-dic-u-lous”—and a whole lot of fun.

More hard-boiled hilarity, this time with a side of apples.

In their third case, mice Detective Wilcox and Capt. Griswold, esteemed Missing Food Investigators, look into the latest “bad apple” on the farm. The action starts with a call from a doctor at Whole Hog Emergency Care. It seems Porcini “pigged out” on a basket of apples that may have been deliberately poisoned! For the MFIs, that’s a Code 22—better known as “attempted hamslaughter.” The detectives rush to the scene of the crime to get the 411 and “save [Porcini’s] bacon.” At the pig’s pen, they find the basket (with four remaining apples) and a series of hoof, claw, and paw prints. The MFIs quickly narrow down the suspects to fellow farm animals Sweet Pea (another pig), Herman the Vermin (a rat), and Hot Dog (a dog, natch). But whodunit? Forensics will reveal the truth. With a successful formula established in earlier series entries, this one’s par for the course. The five chapters range in text complexity, reaching 23 lines at most per page. Full-color cartoon spot illustrations provide contextual clues and break up the text. Though yellow sticky notes define slangy terms like “tox screen” and “perp,” the abundant wordplay is perhaps best deciphered by more confident readers.

Completely “pig-dic-u-lous”—and a whole lot of fun. (recipe) (Early reader. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-939547-76-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Creston

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look...

Winning actually isn’t everything, as jazz-happy Rooster learns when he goes up against the legendary likes of Mules Davis and Ella Finchgerald at the barnyard talent show.

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look good—particularly after his “ ‘Hen from Ipanema’ [makes] / the barnyard chickies swoon.”—but in the end the competition is just too stiff. No matter: A compliment from cool Mules and the conviction that he still has the world’s best band soon puts the strut back in his stride. Alexander’s versifying isn’t always in tune (“So, he went to see his cousin, / a pianist of great fame…”), and despite his moniker Rooster plays an electric bass in Bower’s canted country scenes. Children are unlikely to get most of the jokes liberally sprinkled through the text, of course, so the adults sharing it with them should be ready to consult the backmatter, which consists of closing notes on jazz’s instruments, history and best-known musicians.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58536-688-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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