Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Fowl Play

Fowl Play

Fall 2015 Fiction
Ages: 5 - 8 yrs.
Author: Travis Nichols
Publisher: Chronicle Books
ISBN: 9781452131825
Hardcover Price: $14.99

The animal detectives at Gumshoe Zoo have a mystery to solve-who could have broken the plate-glass window of Mr. Hound's store, and why? The friends get on the case right away. But as they begin to investigate, they are continually interrupted as they realize that everything they say might be an insult to one of their team. Quentin can see there is something fishy about the breakage, but he doesn't mean for fish detective Reggie to be offended! And Reggie, in turn, wants to point out the monkey business he's noticed around the crime scene, but he doesn't want his monkey colleague Steve to take that the wrong way. Gumshoe Detectives is stuck with more than one problem to solve-one crime scene, and many, many tricky idiomatic expressions.

Fowl Play is a book about language posing as a mystery story. Relatively little storytelling time is devoted to solving the mystery; instead, the reader is encouraged to wonder what language gaffe each animal will utter next. Fowl Play is formatted as an early reader comic book, in a bright, blocky cartoonish style that enhances the book's sense of fun and playfulness. While there isn't much of a story, young readers will giggle at the friends' missteps, as they learn about what idioms mean and how (not) to use them.

Naomi Lesley   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Naomi Lesley taught middle and high school English for six years. She is currently in a doctoral program at the George Washington University, focusing on American young adult literature.

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