Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Leon Chameleon P.I. and the case of the kidnapped mouse (Jan Hurst-Nicholson)

Overall: 4.3
  • Content: 4.3/5
  • Originality: 4/5
  • Language: 4/5
  • Illustrations: 5/5
Leon Chameleon P.I. and the case of the kidnapped mouse by Jan Hurst-Nicholson, illustrated by Barbara McGuire

When Mr Woodland Mouse mysteriously disappears, Constable Mole is quick to enlist the help of Leon Chameleon, Private Investigator, whose expertise enabled the Pigeon Valley police to solve the case of the missing canary eggs.

After organising a search, Leon realises that there is only one creature in the valley who can spring the captured mouse from his prison. But just when he thinks Mr Woodland Mouse is safely on his way home, the plan goes horribly wrong ...
Children's Literature
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Other Links:
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When Mr. Woodland Mouse is kidnapped, Constable Mole recruits private investigator Leon Chameleon to assist with the case. What follows is a forest-wide search and a complicated rescue mission that pulls together animals from all levels of the food chain.

Originally published in 1995, the electronic version of this children's book contains illustrations from the original. The color images are lovely, and the black-and-white sketches remind me of images from old Roald Dahl books. They alternate between remarkable detail and more rough-hewn whimsy, giving life to the text and neatly demonstrating what these foreign animals look like.

This book mixes facts about each animal into the storyline. While I adore the educational aspect, sometimes the way it was worked in felt more 'textbook' than not; some of the sentences made me think of sausage cases overfilled with information. Still, the language provides a good challenge to younger readers, and if it sparks an interest in animals and the ecosystem, I'm all for it.

The storyline itself is fun, showcasing strengths from each of the woodland creatures involved. The problem-solving at the end was too abrupt for my taste; I'd rather it were addressed at intervals throughout the story than all of it coming ot a head at the finale. Still, I doubt children will mind.

Leon Chameleon P.I. and the case of the kidnapped mouse is a great way to keep children entertained while teaching them about nature. Perhaps it will pique an interest in their own environs.

(Review copy provided by the author)


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