A hedgehog and rat solve a gentle whodunit.
Quillan, a tawny-hued hedgehog who goes by Q, and Ray, a chocolate-colored rat, return for their third graphic-novel mystery. Inspired by famous women ballplayers, Q has joined the Loons baseball team and is anticipating a fun season practicing catching. Ray, however, is more interested in indoor pursuits, sharing his recent reading about forgery and fakes. This information comes in handy as the pair soon discovers that a valuable signed baseball has been stolen and a forgery left in its place. Stephen Shaskan’s panels are large and bright, focusing on the prominently displayed characters alongside uniformly stylized and easy-to-read speech bubbles. As they are constructed with blocky outlines and solid colors lacking detail, readers may find it difficult to discern exactly which mammals they are intended to depict. Although a stand-alone mystery, this new case does not rehash necessary details explained in earlier installments, which may be perplexing to series newcomers. Those familiar with the series, on the other hand, may notice that this volume follows an almost identical investigational path as its predecessor, reinforcing mystery conventions for young readers but perhaps causing more-seasoned ones to feel it is stale. This affable mystery is probably best for younger readers looking for more of a challenge than leveled readers provide.
Not perfect but a pleasant-enough caper that bridges a gap between leveled readers and chapter books. (Graphic mystery. 5-7)