The latest detective on the crowded juvenile scene is ten-year-old Phoebe Danger-field, who shortened her name for her newspaper ad because she couldn't afford the extra line. As Phoebe isn't blessed with sharp eyes, she relies on her reluctant assistant Dash, who would rather be bird-watching but sticks around in hope of financing a new pair of binoculars. Their first case deals with a stolen cough medicine bottle, a 1902 collectible and the only one of its kind, which Mrs. Willington had been safe-keeping for her traveling sister. Mr. Willington, an avid collector himself, arrives home from Peru indignant that two ten-year-olds are investigating; but on his wife's request, he compromises and gives them three hours to solve the case. Well, clues just fall into their hands as the kids dash around town to meet the deadline, and soon Phoebe announces that Mr. W. was not in Peru last night at all, but staying at a local hotel and robbing his own house. As Phoebe notes, "for someone who likes to read mysteries [Mr. Willington] left a pretty clear trail. She mused on his happening to drop both the receipt [for a locally purchased Peruvian artifact] and the key to the Beaumont Hotel." She might also muse on his undisguised alarm or relief as the kids get hot or cold on the trail—a clear tip-off to readers, though apparently missed by Dash and Phoebe. The case itself is pretty heavy-handedly contrived, then, though Fleischman keeps the kids in motion and the tone light—and Apple's winning touch adds considerable appeal.

Pub Date: March 1, 1983

ISBN: 0395332265

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1983

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves


A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet