The Case of the Poached Egg: A Wilcox & Griswold Mystery by Robin Newman

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THE CASE OF THE POACHED EGG:
A WILCOX & GRISWOLD MYSTERY
Written by Robin Newman
Illustrated by Deborah Zemke
(Creston Books; $15.95, Ages 4-8)

 

 

You’re eggspecting me to make yolks about this book, right? So here goes!

Eggceptionally funny, Robin Newman’s second Wilcox & Griswold mystery called The Case of the Poached Egg, will completely satisfy fans who’ve been hungry for a new installment following the duo’s Kirkus-starred first caper, The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake.

The trench coat garbed Captain Griswold and the narrator Detective Wilcox are mice on the move. MFIs (Missing Food Inspectors) have to be. It’s an animals steal food kind of world. Always seeking justice for the over 100 creatures on Farmer Ed’s Farm, this pair will stop at nothing to crack a case. So, after taking an urgent call from Henrietta Hen upset over the apparent egg-napping of her “precious Penny,” Wilcox summons his superior to accompany him to the crime scene.

This 48-paged early chapter book not only breaks down the tale into six easily readable chapters, it also cleverly divides actions/events into time and place. For example, Wilcox and Griswold begin their investigation at 10:30am, at the Chicken Coop. There they not only encounter a distraught Henrietta, but an unusually written ransom note too. The game is afoot! I mean an egg! I mean, read on!

The determined MFIs uncover a motive and eventually a culprit, just in the nick of time, using the process of elimination, mounting clues such as a bunch of farm animals oversleeping, a red goose herring (!), thorough questioning of witnesses and possible suspects, and hand writing analysis. All this, which takes place against the backdrop of Farmer Ed’s Big Speggtacular, plus, the cast of colorful characters caught up in the shenanigans including Gabby Goose, Colonel Peck, Miss Rabbit and Porcini Pig makes for amusing dialogue as readers try to solve the mystery along with Wilcox and Griswold. And though, as an adult, I solved the case early on, kids will eat up the chance to play detective and read between the lines, something the format of this clever police procedural actively encourages.

I’m always pulled into a story when there’s a map included, and illustrator Zemke’s created a super one. Her expressive illustrations work wonderfully to add action and emotion to this humorous and accessible story, while also making the thought of reading a chapter book not as daunting for the younger crowd! NOTE: Parents who may read this book aloud should not miss the legal disclaimer on the front endpapers or the author’s note beginning with  “No eggs, chickens, geese or roosters were harmed …”  I’m ready for another serving of Wilcox & Griswold, yes, ready indeed!

 

  • Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

 

 


Flora & Ulysses and Journey Giveaway

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Enter our 1000+ Twitter Followers Giveaway

Win Copies of Flora & Ulysses and Journey!

Flora & Ulysses

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by 2014 Newbery Medal Winner, Kate DiCamillo, with illustrations by K. G. Campbell, Candlewick Press, 2013.

A huge thank you goes out to Candlewick Press for this fantastic opportunity. (Plus, read what DiCamillo’s publicist, Tracy Miracle, has to say about working with this two-time Newbery Medal winner.) Three contest entrants chosen at random will receive a set of two award-winning books, Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo (2014 Newbery Medalist) with illustrations by K. G. Campbell, together with Journey, a wordless picture book (2014 Caldecott Honor Book) by Aaron Becker.

Enter by clicking here. Include your name and address please. Remember to write 1000+ in the subject line. Contest ends at midnight PST on Tuesday, Feb. 18 and three winners will be selected and notified on Weds. Feb. 19, 2014. For eligibility, entrants must first follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Contest rules also available here. Good luck!

 

Journey by Aaron Becker

Journey, 2014 Caldecott Honor Book, by Aaron Becker, Candlewick Press, 2013.

 

“In addition to interviews with Kate DiCamillo, K. G. Campbell and Aaron Becker, we’ve been delighted to have both Flora & Ulysses and Journey reviewed on our site. So, it simply made sense to offer our readers a chance to share the enjoyment we’ve gotten from reading both these brilliant books. We’d also be remiss if we didn’t use this occasion to thank all our followers for their continued support. We love bringing our favorite books, authors and illustrators to our readers’ attention.”

Ronna Mandel, founder Good Reads With Ronna

“Working at Candlewick is an embarrassment of riches for any book publicist, honestly. There are too many wonderful books and authors, it can be overwhelming!

But working with Kate DiCamillo is a singular privilege that I can honestly say is one of the defining aspects of my career in publishing. Over almost a decade now, we have worked and grown together, and her books have continued to surprise and impress me at each publication. Not to mention, she’s a good person, and who doesn’t want to see a really, genuinely good person do well?

While no longer an underdog by any means, she’s still easy to root for. And I count myself among her biggest cheerleaders  — ever.”

Tracy Miracle, Sr. Publicist, Candlewick Press


Making New Friends From a Hanukkah Mishap

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Engineer Ari and the Hanukkah Mishap written by Deborah Bodin Cohen and illustrated by Shahar Kober ($17.95 hardcover, $7.95 paperback; Kar-Ben, ages 5-9) was reviewed by Ronna Mandel in the December issue of L.A. Parent.

Engineer Ari is trying to get from Jerusalem to Jaffa, Israel, to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah with friends Jessie and Nathaniel. He’s bringing dreidels, a hanukkiah, a bottle of oil, a bag of Turkish coins and some sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts; a glossary in the front of the book offers more handy definitions), and children he meets on the way to the station chat about the story behind the holiday.

On board the train Ari can almost taste Nathaniel’s potato latkes and hear Jessie singing the Hanukkah blessings, but he will have to wait. Coming around a bend, Ari spots a camel relaxing on the tracks and must make an emergency stop, causing his caboose to derail.

Kalil, a Bedouin with long robes and a shepherd’s staff, comes to help Ari remove the stubborn camel. As the sun sets and the two men wait in a desert tent for help to arrive, Ari misses the chance to celebrate Hanukkah’s first night with his old friends, but is blessed to share the Festival of Lights with a new one.

While there may be a mishap, it turns out that everything about Engineer Ari and the Hanukkah Mishap is just right!


Nancy Tillman Shares The Love

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You may know author and illustrator Nancy Tillman from her bestselling picture book, On the Night You Were Born or maybe from Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You. With the addition of her latest picture book, The Crown on Your Head ($16.99, Feiwel & Friends, ages 4-8) one wonderful common theme emerges –  children everywhere need to know that they are special and loved.

You will be pulled into the pages from the very first lines:

“On the day that we met and I put you to bed,
I noticed a crown on the top of your head.

It was made up of sparkling, glimmering things
like moonlight and fireflies, and dragonfly wings.”

Had this book been published when my children were young, I would have read this book to them nightly to instill in them a strong sense of self and confidence. And one of my favorites lines is just below:

“I always knew just what your crown meant.
It said that you were MAGNIFICENT.”

Tillman has an unerring ability to convey her convictions through warm, gleaming artwork, artwork that captures a little one’s inner joy and contentment at just being themselves and being loved for who they are. This book is pure gold.

The Crown on Your Head was reviewed by Ronna Mandel.


Put a Lid on it, Mike!

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BE QUIET, MIKE! ($14.99, Candlewick, ages 3-6), reviewed today by Lindy Michaels, was written and illustrated by Leslie Patricelli.

What kid hasn’t blown on a kazoo, pretending it was a trumpet?  What kid hasn’t let their fingers fly on a table top pretending it was a piano?  Well, from the time Mike, the monkey, was in his momma monkey’s womb, he was drumming to his own beat.  “Kick, thump, pow!”  It was a very active pregnancy for momma monkey, to say the least.  And once Mike was born “…He played with his fingers, he played with his feet, a funky little monkey, with a beat, beat, beat.”

As Mike grew bigger, there was nothing he came in contact with that didn’t become a… drum!  Banging on a wastebasket, slapping the water in the pool, clanking on a trash can.  And how was his creativity received by his family?   “BE QUIET, MIKE!”  But that didn’t stop this monkey as he grew older.  “He played on the table like a wild baboon…”  “BE QUIET, MIKE,” was what he heard day and night, over and over again. “Mike tried to be quiet, he tried to be still, but the beat in his heart, was stronger than his will.”

And then one day, he saw in the window of a music shop, “… a real live, full-sized jamming drum set”  “… an ape with long fur, beating so fast – arms and legs a blur.”

Ah, the sheer ingenuity of little monkey Mike.  He went home and used everything he could find in his house, like coffee cans and pots and pans and two sticks, to make his very own drum set.  And then he started to beat his home-made drums.  “Zat.  Zoom.  Crash!”

And just then his parents and sister opened the door to his bedroom.  Oh, yes, Mike certainly knew what was coming.  “BE QUIET, MIKE!”

But is that what happened?  I adore books  that encourage children to explore their bliss, even if it’s very, very loud!  Leslie Patricelli, the talented author and illustrator of the popular YUMMY YUCKYQUIET LOUDTUBBYTHE BIRTHDAY BOX and other fun children’s books, has done it again, when it comes to engaging children on their own level.  Now all you moms and dads,  go and give your little ones some pots and pans and let them go to town.  Just don’t forget some cotton for your ears!


Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Return To School …

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SCARY SCHOOL ($15.99, HarperCollins, ages 8-12) , written by Derek The Ghost and illustrated by Scott M. Fischer, is reviewed by Lindy Michaels of BookStar on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, CA.

BOO!! Right in time for the new year of quality education, SCARY SCHOOL is open and it’s inhabited by some really strange creatures, like Mr. Spider-Eyes, the hallway monitor, T Rex, who wears, of all things, a blue dress and blue bonnet, Ms. Fang, the sweetest homeroom teacher, who has one huge fang hanging out of her mouth (had she had two fangs, she would have been called Ms. Fangs! There’s Nurse Hairymoles, named as such for obvious reasons and oh, wow, she can bring you back from the dead. Trust me, she is kept extremely busy at Scary School. Then, of course, there’s Principal Headcrusher and Dr. Dragonbreath, named, yes, you guessed it, because he has really, really, really bad breath. Oh, wait! Did I mention Archie, the giant squid, who lives in the school’s moat? And… and… ooh… how could I leave out Mr. Snakeskin, the half zombie science teacher?

A new kid, Charles Nukid… no really, that’s the new kid’s name, started at Scary School that year and what a year it would be, because Scary School is chosen to host the annual, wait for it, Ghoul Games, this year. Did I mention that most of the children attending Scary School weren’t “regular” kids, like that new kid, Charles Nukid? Oh no, they were ghouls and goblins and vampires, oh my!

Now, all the ghoulish going-ons are narrated, for your reading pleasure, by none other than Derek The Ghost, who unfortunately, last year, became … a ghost, that is, when a science experiment in class went terribly, terribly wrong. And this is his story of  “…all the horrible and wonderful things that go on there.”

But do not fear, my children, because even if T Rex, who wears a blue dress, eats you up whole, (almost) all you children will come back to life, as I already mentioned, just perhaps not in the same shape you were before. That is, if you’re lucky! As the terrific children’s author, Dan Gutman, of the My Weird School Daze series, is quoted on the book’s back cover, says, “I died laughing. Weird monsters in silly situations. Why didn’t I think of that?”

This is such a hilarious, okay, creepy read, but of course, not for the faint of heart. So get to your bookstore (hopefully BookStar in Studio City where there are autographed copies!) and gobble up the totally cool, Scary School!


Daddy, You Can Drive My Car

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Powered by Love

Mitchell’s License by Hallie Durand and illustrated by Tony Fucile ($15.99, Candlewick, ages 3-7) is reviewed by Ronna Mandel.

With some strong neck muscles, and an eager driver, Mitchell’s dad hoisted his son upon his shoulders nightly to play a bedtime game of  “Remote-Control Dad.”  According to author Hallie Durand, her husband invented the game, guaranteed to get kids in gear for a road trip to dreamland. The inimitable Tony Fucile added the V6 powered artwork making this a fun-fueled story for preschoolers to second graders with a penchant for running on empty.

Meet Mitchell who, until his dad creates this nighttime ritual, will do whatever it takes to avoid his bedtime routine. Dad, however, has another plan in mind. He makes his shoulders the driver’s seat, his head the steering wheel and his eyeglasses the windshield. Together the father-son team steer clear of boring and head straight for adventure. Once Mitchell’s been assured that his father’s in tip top, road ready condition, the duo are off! But watch out, there are obstacles ahead and no signs to warn the car or driver! And while the horn and brakes work just fine, occasionally Mitchell’s dad (aka the auto) could use a tune up, an oil change and even some gas.

This laugh-filled, creative story may become part of your own family’s ritual so get those shoulders in shape for some serious driving and remember to look both ways before turning the page.