||Bloomsbury Children’s Books
RRP : AU$12.99
Like many others I am addicted to great detective fiction be it books or TV shows and also like many others my favourite sleuth is the one and only Hercule Poirot (as in David Suchet not – you know who KB bleuggh). So you might well imagine how delighted I was to read this new book from the creator of Captain Pug and discover a flamingo version of HP!
Fabio politely tipped his hat. ‘Fabio, the world’s greatest flamingo detective at your service, Madam.’
He’s no hulking giant but a mere pink slip of a thing and very very clever. Really he just wants to sip his pink lemonade and listen to the jazz music at his favourite venue, the Hotal Royale. His constant companion Gerald the giraffe, a gentle soul but also a complete duffer accompanies him.
However, there is no peaceful interlude for Fabio as the nightclub launches its talent show, he is roped in to being one of the judges and the likely winner of the show, a brilliant jazz-singing hippo goes missing.
There are plenty of suspects including Fabio’s fellow judges – a slippery python car salesman and the bizarre knitting secretary bird, Enid, owner of the local ballet school among them. The local Lake Laloozee Chief Inspector Duff is no match for Fabios’s superior intellect –‘it’s a matter of logic’ – and this crime unravels faster than Enid’s knitting in the calm flamingo’s capable hands – errr, wings.
This is really good fun and the fluoro pink and green combination used throughout the design and illustrations is fantastic.
Highly recommended for readers from around 7 years upwards who enjoy a spot of sleuthing and a lot of laughs.
Harper Collins Australia
ISBN 10: 0008132496
Imprint: HarperCollins – GB
List Price: 4.99 AUD
Girl detectives seem to be quite the popular trend of late and you will perhaps have some younger readers who want to get in on this but are not quite ready for some of the books on offer.
This new series will be just perfect for them as Dorothy Constance Mae Louise, known as Dot, is a younger girl as well. Written in diary style Dot gives the reader the low down on her situation. She’s just moved to a new house with her mum and little twins, Alf and Maisie, and of course is starting a new school. She’s pretty excited about all this but also a wee bit nervous. Not to worry, she makes two great new friends, Beans and Amy. As it happens Beans is also a fan of TV super sleuth Fred Fantastic – Ace Detective. Dot is very good at puzzles and codes and Beans is a good foil for her investigating as he is good at making gadgets.
When the teacher announces a school talent quest Amy, who is rather shy but a really good singer, is keen to perform but classmate Laura who thinks she is the superstar plans to sabotage her. Will Dot and Beans be able to help Amy overcome her nerves and thwart Laura’s sneaky plan?
This is a really cute story and already three more to come so a great little series to start off some independent readers. Girls will enjoy seeing Dot’s new bedroom become her own special place and also getting to know her family.
Lots to explore around friendship, adjusting to new situations and of course, codes, puzzles and mysteries!
Highly recommended for readers from around 7 upwards.
By the way, the author Clara Vulliamy is the daughter of Shirley Hughes!
Imprint: Little Brown Group
From one of my favourite authors comes a new instalment in the quirky and endearing lives of the characters that revolve around The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Last Saturday night I took myself to bed early and read this in one sitting and what a joy it is – as always.
There is something so refreshing to the spirit when we can join Precious in her beloved Botswana and walk among her friends and share her daily life as well as her cases. When we visit the orphanage for tea and cake or watch the children with their simple activities or when we listen to the wisdom of Mr J. L. B. Matekoni we are immediately transported to a land of wide spaces and vast blue skies.
Precious begins this tale with some considerations of relationships and their nature – family, friends, not friends, late and not late – and reflects on their various differences. This thread of connections runs throughout the narrative.
Of course it’s not all daily routine life with Mma Ramotswe. She takes on a rather strange client in this episode. A woman who was raised in Botswana but then moved to the Canadian colony – about as different as possible to the African country she had loved as a little girl. She seeks out the help of Precious to locate people and places from this childhood but there is something quite strange about some of her reactions.
For those of us who have followed Precious’ journey throughout there is a huge amount of joy in the rise and rise of Grace, Mma Makutsi – erstwhile agency secretary but who somehow manages to elevate her position within the firm until she now ranks as co-director, much to Precious’ bafflement!
Indulge yourself with some vicarious visiting to a simpler life (though Botswana is certainly moving with the times to the regret of older characters). As one who is most definitely traditionally built I can assure you this will be a joyful time out from your everyday life.