The Case of the Poached Egg
Robin Newman, Author
Deborah Zemke, Illustrator
Creston Books, Fiction, Apr. 2, 2017
Suitable for Ages:4-8
Themes: Mystery, Detectives, Thieves, Stolen Egg, Farm Animals
Opening: “Boys and girls, this case is about a poached egg on Ed’s farm. Over 100 animals live on this farm. Most work. Some horse around.. Others steal. That’s where I come in. My name is Detective Wilcox. I’m a policemouse.”
Publisher Synopsis: When Penny goes missing from Henrietta Hen’s nest, Wilcox and Griswold are called in to track her down. Was the egg stolen by a rival for The Most Round in the Spring Egg-stravaganza? Was she used in a carrot cake or scrambled by a hungry porker? Or was she held for a hefty corn ransom? Who took Penny and can the detectives find her before trouble hatches?
Why I like this book:
Fans of Wilcox and Griswold will cheer at the return of the their favorite no-nonsense mice detectives in Robin Newman’s latest crime caper, The Case of the Poached Egg. Spirited and comical, readers will dive into the police work and help find the Henrietta’s stolen egg.
Newman is a master at writing highly entertaining food-based wordplay which will tickle every child’s gander. Newman creates the right amount of suspense that will keep kids engaged and turning pages to figure out who poached Penny. Her pacing is exceptional and readers will like the clever ending.
The characters are quirky, dramatic and memorable. Henrietta Hen is ready to fly the coop when she discovers Penny, her precious egg, has been stolen (poached) from her nest. Everyone is suspect on Ed’s Farm as Wilcox and Griswold try to crack the case. Gabby Goose is the farm gossip and her egg, Gertie, is competing against Penny. Miss Rabbit bakes her famous carrot cakes with eggs. Even Porcini Pig’s slop is examined. Colonel Peck, the farm’s rooster, is missing corn kernels.
Readers will become competent detectives as they learn how to investigate a crime scene, interview suspects, look at a ransom note, set up surveillance and stakeouts, and solve a mystery.
Deborah Zemke’s lively, expressive and colorful illustrations fill each page and contribute to the hilarity and silliness of this perfect mystery. Make sure you check out all the fun details on every page: Gabby’s egg pouch for Gertie, fowl prints, broken egg shells, and the coup boxes with all the hens’ names. Don’t forget the endpapers for the detective details: case report, evidence folder and wanted posters. There is egg-ceptional collaboration between the author and illustrator. Here’s hoping for more Wilcox and Griswold cases to solve. The Case of the Poached Egg is a winner!
Robin Newman was a practicing attorney and legal editor but she now prefers to write about witches, mice, pigs, and peacocks. Her debut book, Wilcox and Griswold’s first mystery, The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, earned a starred review from Kirkus and 2015 Best Middle Grade Book.
Resources: Check out Robin Newman’s website. She has a wonderful Teachers Guide to use with students that cover every eggs-pect of this puzzling poached egg mystery. Future detectives will be delighted with the egg-structions that will take them through all of the steps of solving a crime.
Join Robin Newman for a book signing April 20 at 5:30 p.m., Corner Bookstore, 1313 Madison Ave. at 93rd, New York, NY.
Check other Middle Grade review links on author Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.
*I received a review copy of The Case of the Poached Egg. The opinions in this review are entirely my own.