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GRAPHIC NOVELS

Farm Crimes: Cracking the Case of the Missing Egg

Owlkids. (Farm Crimes). Sept. 2020. 48p. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781771474153.
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Gr 1-4–Hen wakes one morning and whips the barnyard into a frenzy—she can’t find her egg. Fellow animals initially eye one another with suspicion, then agree to call in Billiam Van Hoof, the world’s self-declared greatest (and admittedly only) goat detective, who lives just up the road. Though the answer is evident from the first scrap of evidence, the guileless gumshoe is stumped but determined to work toward a solution. Eventually, Hen’s newly hatched chick wanders in, stopping calamity just short of catastrophe. In omelets and graphic novels, less is more. This tale contains but three essential ingredients: a quirky caper, anthropomorphic animals, and a paneled format composed of simple illustrations and pithy dialogue. Attentive readers may crack the case early on, but they’ll be rewarded by laugh-out-loud details and visual gags, such as brown-spotted Cow wearing a black-and-white cow print dress. Setups and payoffs are hilarious, as when Van Hoof takes a wrong turn past two signposts at the outset and must parachute into the farm; Hen later prevents him from making the same mistake at a new fork in the road.
VERDICT A quick, cute, and obvious elementary whodunit.

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