cover image Sam Sunday and the Mystery at the Ocean Beach Hotel

Sam Sunday and the Mystery at the Ocean Beach Hotel

Robyn Supraner. Viking Children's Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-84797-6

The name is Sunday. Sam Sunday. And as the world's greatest detective, Sam will soon get to the bottom of the fishy goings-on at the Ocean Beach Hotel, even if it means working on his birthday. After rounding up a crew of burglary suspects in the hotel parlor, Sam the master sleuth discovers that he has been duped. It seems his familiar-looking suspects are really his friends in disguise--a ruse staged for Sam's birthday surprise. In a style that mimics the deadpan, staccato speech of classic screen detectives, Supraner splices together gag after gag to hilarious effect ("" `My name is Betsy Babble,' Betsy babbled""). Hillenbrand (Traveling to Tondo), an illustrator with an almost chameleon-like arsenal of styles, invents a dapperly dressed animal cast and plunks them into a natty country-house setting. His pencil and oil works are spiked with bright colors, adding even more verve to this funny and suspenseful tale. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)