cover image The Mailbox Mice Mystery

The Mailbox Mice Mystery

Graham Percy, Juli Mahr, Julie Mahr. Random House Books for Young Readers, $12.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-679-88603-7

Aided by clues tucked into envelopes, readers can solve a mystery alongside aspiring detective Watson Mouse in this interactive paper-over-board book for early readers. Watson gets the chance to apply the teachings of his mail-order booklet, ""How to Be a Famous Detective"" (the first of six missives that readers can open), when all the cheese in town begins to disappear. Three teasing clues from the perpetrator(s)--one clue with backward writing to be read with the help of a bound-in mirror--spur on the trench coat-clad mouse. The contrast between the excited hero's high ambitions and humble abilities generates much of the amusement. Readers will crack the case before Watson, who finally discovers that it is part of a double birthday present from his friends: a crime rigged for him to solve and a cheese-laden surprise party. Percy's (Elympics; Row Your Boat) rather static illustrations, scattered throughout the text, provide further clues for alert readers. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)