cover image Detective Donut and the Wild Goose Chase

Detective Donut and the Wild Goose Chase

Bruce Whatley. HarperCollins, $14.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-026604-2

A larcenous goose is on the loose in this comic caper from the author-illustrator creators of Whatley's Quest. A bumbling bear of an investigator, Detective Donut is distracted by thoughts of his birthday and doesn't realize he is in possession of a valuable statue sent to him for safekeeping by an old archeologist friend. Neither does he recognize a thief in obvious disguise who is hot on the statue's trail. Thankfully Donut's tiny assistant, Mouse, is the more clever of the two and the artifact arrives safely at the museum. Young readers can play right along with this silly adventure, discovering a multitude of verbal and visual puns (when Donut remarks, ""Someone had turned the place upside down,"" the room appears upside-down in the art; when the goose yells, ""I've been framed!"" a picture frame falls on his head). Kids will also delight in Mouse's integral role on each spread as he continually salvages Donut's mistakes. Artfully strewn with inventive details (intricate postage stamps, telegrams, newspapers, maps), the paintings here evoke a bygone film era with period office decor and references to Humphrey Bogart and The Maltese Falcon. The plot elements echo the story lines of such recent picture books as Doug Cushman's The Mystery of King Karfu and Robyn Supraner's Sam Sunday and the Mystery at the Ocean Beach Hotel, but kids who love a mystery won't mind. Ages 4-8. (May)