Eileen Christelow, Author . Clarion $15 (32p) ISBN 978-0-618-18194-0

Christelow (The Great Pig Search) offers more animals who bamboozle slow-witted innocents in this rib-tickling take on the Three Little Pigs. Canine detective Phineas T. Doggedly asserts, "There's only one no-good rascal in this town... the Big Bad Wolf!" So when "a big gust of wind Hufffs and Pufffs," he sets out to round up the usual suspect, who's nowhere to be found. The fact that an odd-looking sheep named Esmerelda happens to be strolling by every time disaster strikes seems odd to the sleuth, but, he says, "I just can't quite put my paw on what it is." Young readers will likely spy the big gray nose sticking out of Esmerelda's white wool long before Phineas does, and will follow the action with relish. Comic-book–style panels alternate with full-bleed spreads as Doggedly's midnight stake-outs fail to produce results. When he finally nabs the wolf ("This no-good, pig-poaching, huffing, puffing, wolf-in-sheep's-clothing is under arrest!") the scoundrel spends a couple of nights in jail before he's back to his usual tricks. The familiar story line allows Christelow to include plenty of details and extra cast members; two elderly cows in bathrobes provide comic running commentary. Both adults and children will enjoy listening to Esmerelda urge the pigs to put down those bricks: "Build a cardboard house. It's so much easier!" Ages 5-8. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/08/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
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