cover image Dexter Bexley and the Big Blue Beastie

Dexter Bexley and the Big Blue Beastie

Joel Stewart, . . Holiday, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-2068-1

The aptly named Big Blue Beastie, a bored monster, believes eating young Dexter Bexley will relieve his ennui. But the resourceful, diminutive Dexter heads off Beastie's appetite by always coming up with another fun thing that the two of them can do together. In the funniest series of vignettes, they open a detective agency, solving cases with comically evocative names such as "The Rubber Glove Affair" and even fending off a Moriarty-like nemesis named Professor Hortern Zoar. By the time Dexter's stock of ideas is exhausted, the Big Blue Beastie decides it's much more fun to have the boy as a friend than a snack. Mock-Victorian drawings bring to mind the sly delicacy of Edward Gorey; every image conveys Stewart's (Jabberwocky ) wit. The urbane, economical narrative, written in clipped British cadences, follows suit with its comic pith and dialogue conveyed in speech bubbles. Stewart always trusts that readers will get the jokes and be able to fill in the embellishments for themselves. A treat. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)