Once again, Rylant and Karas (The Case of the Sleepy Sloth, 2002, etc.) demonstrate why they are a cut above the rest when it comes to beginning readers: their verbal and visual sophistication is ever so easy and pleasurable. In their sixth adventure, the high-rise private eyes, Bunny (a bunny) and Jack (a raccoon), are on the track of an errant pair of fuzzy dice—lucky fuzzy dice that the bus driver must have hanging from his mirror or he won’t operate the bus. Of course, things are never so simple with these two, who start the proceedings by excising the calm Bunny is enjoying after a yoga session. Which also helps establish a running joke—the importance of potato chips in maintaining one’s emotional equilibrium—they will enjoy throughout the story, as well as introducing their cracked sense of humor. Rylant is not above some verbal tomfoolery—“ ‘Oops, did I scare you?’ Jack called. Bunny gave him a look. ‘I must have,’ said Jack. ‘You’re all white.’ ‘Jack, I’m always all white,’ said Bunny. ‘Oh, all white. Whatever you say,’ said Jack”—and Karas is ready to ramp up the imagery, like the smile on Jack’s face when he’s trying to soothe a ruffled, and very large, bulldog. The perp turns out to have made the kind of mistake any kid might. He learns what he has to do to rectify the situation: “Just tell Melvin you’re sorry, okay?” The kind of simple, respectful advice that builds character 12 different ways and entertainment while instructing that’s elevated to a particularly high order. (Easy reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-009101-0

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2003

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From the Detective Dinosaur series , Vol. 1

Detective Dinosaur, showcased in his third entry in the I Can Read! series, is the same charming numbskull readers have come to love. This book is broken up into three chapters, each of which is a “case” for the detective to solve. In the first caper, when Detective Dinosaur is called in to do some undercover work, the real mystery is his interpretation of "undercover." In the second, the dinosaur has a nightmare—er, napmare—and wakes up to find mysterious large blobs at the end of his blanket-covered legs. The third mystery takes the sleuth on an outing during which he tries to deduce why the sun is shining brightly even though he keeps getting soaked. Enhancing the narrative is a cast of funky characters, such as Ricky Raptor and Cadet Kitty, illustrated in bright cavorting watercolors. Readers will smirk at being smarter than the detective and giggle at his goof-ups. With a pronunciation guide for those tongue-twisting dinosaur names, this accessible and super-silly romp will be a boost for those about to embark on the next level for chapter books. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-06-623878-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

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Counting has never been so mysterious or so much fun

7 ATE 9

Pun fun reigns over this fast-paced whodunit.

Private I of the Al F. Bet agency is at his desk when a frantic 6 races in. 7 is “after me,” declares the distressed numeral. Answers Private I: “Well, technically, he’s always after you.” The detective, narrating his caper noir-style, dons his fedora and follows the numbers. The case is solved when he upends the evidence and proclaims that 6 is really 9. This is followed by very humorous and slightly philosophical analysis of numerical significances. Is being in “seventh heaven” better than having “NINE lives!” or not? Lazar’s text is straight out of the classic detective genre, as are MacDonald’s illustrations, which are a mix of colored pencil, watercolor, and 19th-century wood type, all composed in Photoshop. The scenes are clearly set in an old-time Manhattan, with the office, streets, and harbor reimagining movie sets straight out of the 1930s and ’40s, albeit colorized. The oversized letters and numerals all have very entertaining faces and tiny protruding arms and legs that convey constant movement. The name of the detective agency is an adventure in pronunciation. Is it the English word “alphabet” or the Hebrew words for alphabet: “alef bet”?

Counting has never been so mysterious or so much fun . (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-1779-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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