cover image Detective Blue

Detective Blue

Steve Metzger, illus. by Tedd Arnold. Scholastic/Orchard, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-17286-8

"At one time I blew a horn and looked after cows and sheep," explains the former Little Boy Blue. Now he solves urban nursery crimes, decked out in a blue fedora and trench coat. After catching the Dish, who was running away with the Spoon, and apprehending Mary's lamb, disguised and sneaking into a school ("You can't pull the wool over my eyes"), Blue hears Jack Sprat shouting, "Miss Muffet is missing!" Detective Blue inspects an empty tuffet and an abandoned bowl of curds and whey ("Ugh!"), then questions persons of interest like Little Jack Horner and a spider. Arnold (the Fly Guy books) pictures the proceedings in oversize comics panels, with abundant closeups and voice bubbles. His playful visuals%E2%80%94the PI gives Humpty Dumpty a disastrous pat on the back, and a sign promotes "Contrary Mary's Community Garden"%E2%80%94complement Metzger's (When the Leaf Blew In) allusions. Metzger and Arnold display a consistent wit on every page, tucking in manifold nursery rhyme references for readers to tease out. Children will enjoy recognizing familiar stories, as well as the satisfying surprise conclusion. Ages 4%E2%80%938. (July)