Time Flies: Down to the Last Minute

Little, Brown. Apr. 2022. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780759554924.
Gr 1-2–Teaming up for a companion title to 7 Ate 9 and The Upper Case, Lazar and MacDonald continue the gumshoe adventures of Private I. Illustrated with facial features, a felt hat, and a green striped tie, the letter I is the personified embodiment of a detective. “It wasn’t long before trouble found me. Yep, trouble with a capital T.” Private I is enlisted to solve the case when all the watches and clocks are being stolen in Capital City. Following the clues and interrogating the victims doesn’t produce an immediate answer. Private I needs a solid lead, so he stages a trap for the time bandit to reveal his identity. The other characters in the story are also personified letters. Watercolors and colored pencil illustrate the pastel background of the city, while wood letterpress printing forms the solid letters. The story is fast-paced and easy to follow, lending itself to be read aloud. Some vocabulary words, such as “timepiece” and “culprit,” may need to be explained to a young audience. Emerging readers will enjoy the puns and wordplay, especially if a little background in detective tropes is provided.
VERDICT Old-fashioned fun to push kids into funny business; pair this with Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault’s Chicka Chicka Boom Boom or any in Eric Litwin, James Dean, and Kimberly Dean’s “Pete the Cat” series.

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