Thursday, July 07, 2011

Detective Blue

Detective Blue

Detective Blue
by Steve Metzger
illustrated by Ted Arnold
Orchard Books/Scholastic, July 2011
review copy provided by the publisher

You be the detective! There are 24 Mother Goose rhymes hidden in the story and pictures of this hard-boiled detective story (which comes in the form of a graphic novel/picture book mash up).

Detective Blue, whose horn-blowing and cow-tending have been left in his past, makes short work of the crimes that come his way -- the dish running away with the spoon, Mary's lamb trying to sneak into school wearing a disguise. Then Jack Sprat comes running down the street yelling (not because someone offered him a fatty sandwich), "Miss Muffet is missing! Miss Muffet is missing!" and Detective Blue is on the case. He follows clues that take him from Little Bo Peep to Humpty Dumpty to Jack's Corner Pie Shop. Never fear, there's a fairy tale ending. (Literally.)

I can't wait to share this book with kids! It's a fun story with kid-sized literary allusions. It's got Ted Arnold's Fly Guy-style illustrations. It's a great (quick) model of the conventions of the mystery genre. It's a great (big-enough-to-share-with-a-group) model of the conventions of graphic novels. And there's that checklist of 24 Mother Goose rhymes that will pull kids back into the story until they find them all.

If you buy one book this summer/week, this should be the one.


  1. ML,
    That is quite the endorsement to be the one book to buy this summer. Do you think K could catch all the Mother Goose references?

  2. It's a GREAT book, Mandy! Maybe I exaggerated when I called it THE ONE book you should buy all summer (that's like asking me to pick my all time favorite book...just one...), but it has lots of potential in lots of ways.

    I think K would get TONS of the references -- they are in the characters Detective Blue meets (he pushes Humpty Dumpty off the wall by accident) but also in the background of the illustrations (a sign reading "Contrary Mary's Community Garden).

  3. I looked at this at a bookstore this morning and I agree with you, kids are going to love it. Think it would be great for teaching kids about the importance of background knowledge!

  4. Just found your blog and so glad. Such wonderful info to be found here:))

    4th Grade Frolics

  5. Thanks ML for further thinking.


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