cover image Detective Valentine: Audrey Wood

Detective Valentine: Audrey Wood

Audrey Wood. HarperCollins Publishers, $12.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-026599-1

Detective Valentine, a mole, is too busy to look for the missing Snow Queen crown; his own ski hat is lost, and he's on the chase after the thief. When his head feels like an icicle, he dons a glove-as-hat, and when that, too, is ""stolen'' he puts his boot upside down over his head. Rosie's cafe is full of animals with a variety of hatsand suspects. But when Lily Pomp, the actress, sleds past his bungalow and a large bag bounces out, the detective knows he's on to something. Wood's mystery will keep readers guessingsurprises and fun are in store, with pranks, absurdities and perky sound effects on every page. Occasionally, the outlines of the animals make them blend right into the background; Detective Valentine particularly is susceptible to this fade-out. But the overall effect is buoyantWood exercises a freedom born of skill and confidence in the placement of clues and animals, both hatted and hatless. Ages 5-8. (September)