A bandit wipes out Betty’s Bakery! Can the Gumshoe Zoo crack the case?
Detective Antoine is interrupted in midsentence—“Always anticipate an alarm. At…any…”—by a frantic call from a panda named Betty. “A bread bandit burgled my bakery before breakfast.” Antoine assembles his multispecies squad, and they all head to the crime scene in their big purple van. Nichols’ tale progresses through the alphabet in chunks of alliterative narrative. When the squad gets to the bakery, goat Quentin declares, “We’ll find the fully fed, fiendish foe.” As the investigation continues, Quentin buys some snacks, offering “maybe a meager morsel from the mini-market?” Betty is too distraught to eat: “I’m in need of nary a nibble.” Detective Steve, a monkey, finds a solid lead in a half-eaten tart: “If we trace the teeth tracks in this torn tart…/ We can ultimately uncover an unusual underbite.” They do, straight to Betty! She’s not only a sleepwalker, she’s a sleep-eater. Detective Morgan, a white bird, sums it up: “We zipped this zany zigzagging zinger with zeal!” The appendix gives a nice description of alliteration as well as descriptions of five notable leaders of the animal world. The story is a crisp and clever caper, laid out like a comic book in panels. The simple cartoons are rendered in pencil on paper and colored digitally.
This tasty treat’s bound to have young readers alliterating along. (Picture book. 3-6)