Mystery, Humor and Imagination. What could be better?

I’ve been concentrating on Young Adult stories with love interests, so I thought I’d change it up with a few picture book and middle reader stories this week. The drawings in the last two entries are quite nice. And it’s always fun to have a little mystery with a doofus dad trying to run the show.

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The first book is the weakest of the trio, but still has some merit and a good smattering of humor to encourage people to read it. It will especially attract reluctant boy readers.

Knightley & Son: 3 of a Kind

Rohan Gavin

Alan Knightley and his son, Darkus, a.k.a. Doc, are detectives in England, that is until Knightley, Senior, is hypnotized and falls into a swoon for four years. Doc despairs of getting his father back and decides he doesn’t want to be a detective, but rather an ordinary thirteen-year-old boy doing ordinary kid things. But after Alan finally awakens and, with the help of his ex-wife’s step-daughter, Tilly, begins to track the Combination, their arch enemies, the whole family gets caught up in a trap set off by the bad guys kidnapping the family’s prize assistant, Bogna Rejesz. They eventually end up in Las Vegas, Nevada, having been led there by clues. There the trio of detectives discovers they’ve walked right into the trap and are summarily delivered to the leaders of the Combination, which is led by Tilly’s long lost mother. Mildly amusing, the book does weave quite the tale of deceit. Tilly’s dad, Clive, is now married to Darkus’ mother, to make things even more complicated. Teachers could use the book as a jumping off point for studying geography. It seems to be part of a series, so somebody must like it.

BIBLIO: 2016, Bloomsbury Children’s Books/Bloomsbury Publishing, Plc., Ages 10 to 14, $16.99.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Middle-Reader

ISBN: 978-1-61963-830-3

ISBN: 978-1-61963-831-0

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This picture book is enchanting for any person with an imagination, something that all writers and illustrators are endowed with.

Maggie McGillicuddy’s Eye for Trouble

Susan Hughes

Illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan

The characters in this story, well, at least two of them, are sure to keep their neighborhood safe from tigers and pythons and eagles and elephants and crocodiles. Maggie McGillicuddy’s weapons are her tickety, tickety, tacking knitting needles, which she always has at the ready while watching the passing world from her front porch swing. She scares the tiger away with those. Her other weapon is her whickety, whickety, whacking walking cane which she uses to scare the python away. But one day she has to use her most powerful weapon of all before her new neighbor, Charlie, runs into the street in front of a moving car. Maggie McGillicuddy hollers at the young boy to stop and he does, right in his tracks. But when Charlie turns to come visit his neighbor, he has to scare away a herd of elephants with a roar. His dachshund, Cody, helps by wagging his tail. When the two met a crocodile along the walk, Charlie shows his karate moves and Cody chases his tail. Charlie, Cody and Maggie McGillicuddy become great friends and protect the neighborhood from all kinds of trouble. Be sure to look carefully for all the danger lurking around them. Children and their parents will want to read this book over and over. The author encourages the reader to search for the trouble. The illustrations have the right amount of whimsy in them.

BIBLIO: 2016, Kids Can Press/Corus Entertainment Company, Ages 4 to 7, $16.95.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Picture Book

ISBN: 978-1-77138-291-5

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You may have to change your view of rats after you read this story. The rats are drawn as very ratty, but at the same time quite adorable.

The Infamous Ratsos

Kara LaReau

Illustrated by Matt Myers

Louie and Ralphie Ratso live in the Big City with their dad, Big Lou. Their mother died long before the story starts, leaving Big Lou to be the silent, growly type, except when he tells his sons to “Hang tough” every morning as he leaves for work. The boys take their dad’s surly manner as how to be tough and decide to prove they’re tough also. Except everything they do turns out to have been a good thing. They steal the hat off Chad Badgerton, the school bully, only to be rewarded for helping out the hat’s real owner, Tiny Crawley. Everything the boys do turns out to help whomever they’re trying to pick on and wins them praise. What is Big Lou going to think of them, if they keep not being tough? They mean to bury the grocer’s walk in snow so he won’t be able to get out in the morning, but instead they clear his walkway. Next they’re going to pick on the new girl in school, only to befriend her. Soon the reports of their kind deeds reach Big Lou’s ears. The boys are sure they’re in a heap of trouble, but instead their father praises them and they all have a good cry. Then they start doing more good deeds. This is an amusing tale on why being good is not such a bad thing. Mr. Myers succeeds in making the rats endearing with his pencil drawings.

BIBLIO: 2016, Candlewick Press, Ages 5 to 7, $14.99.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Chapter Book

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7636-0

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Hope you’re having a good day and looking forward to pleasant cool weather. Please let me know what you think of my selections. Thanks, Sarah Maury Swan, author of Terror’s Identity.

2 thoughts on “Mystery, Humor and Imagination. What could be better?

  1. Thanks, Carol. I do post on Goodreads and Amazon, but I’m not yet savvy enough to do it easily. I’m working on it, though. I get 5 books a month, minimum, from Emily Griffith at Children’s Literature for the Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database. I’ve been reviewing for them since 2008.

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