GRAPHIC NOVELS

The Tiger’s Eye

Little Simon. (Pup Detectives). ISBN 9781534474987; ISBN 9781534474970.
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Gr 3-5–In the first two installments of this new series, detective tropes are dumbed down and dished out to younger fans of graphic novels. Part Sherlock Holmes, part Harriet the Spy, Rider Woofson is Pawston Elementary School’s self-appointed detective, although he does have a hall pass from Mrs. Plus, the math teacher, indicating his credibility as a sleuth. While seeking missing pencils, he joins forces with Rora Gooddog, hot on the trail of missing erasers. The search heats up with a path of pencil shavings to steer them in the right direction. The crime is solved, but that’s not the end of the mysteries. Acquiring other classmates with sleuth sensibilities, they become the Pup Investigator Pack, stumbling across a heist in the second book, involving a snotty rich cat, Matty Meow, and a troupe of mute monkeys in this universe of all-talking, all-anthropomorphized animals. The monkeys are a front, and the double-cross comes in just in time—it looks like a hall pass (again with the hall pass) may have tripped up the scheme. Add in Rotten Ruffhouse, the bully dog from the first book, and you have tiresome antics, a meager mystery, shameless wordplay that is not always funny, a cast of characters who sound alike, slapstick horseplay, and lots of detective tropes.
VERDICT With groan-worthy puns, light action, and loose, predictable plotting, these read more like books-by-committee than a youthful take on detective stories.

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