Detective LaRue: Letters from the Investigation

Overview


Ike LaRue--the devilish dog hero of Mark Teague's Book Sense Book of the Year, Dear Mrs. LaRue--goes from obedience school dropout to shrewd sleuth in this exceedingly funny sequel.

As if obedience school wasn't bad enough, Ike now finds himself in jail--wrongly accused (of course!) of terrorizing the Hibbins' cats & stealing their cat treats. Once again, he pleads his case to Mrs LaRue, who's vacationing in France, but to no avail. When a string of canary burglaries stalls...

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Overview


Ike LaRue--the devilish dog hero of Mark Teague's Book Sense Book of the Year, Dear Mrs. LaRue--goes from obedience school dropout to shrewd sleuth in this exceedingly funny sequel.

As if obedience school wasn't bad enough, Ike now finds himself in jail--wrongly accused (of course!) of terrorizing the Hibbins' cats & stealing their cat treats. Once again, he pleads his case to Mrs LaRue, who's vacationing in France, but to no avail. When a string of canary burglaries stalls the Snort City Police force's investigation--and reveals their crime-solving ineptitude--Ike flees custody and takes matters into his own paws. Expect more mad-cap comedy in Ike's daring escapades (real and imagined), as well as ingenious split-screen visuals from the incomparable Mark Teague.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Kirkus
Review Date: AUGUST 15, 2004
The captivating canine from Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School (2002) returns for a second adventure revealed through Ike the dog's letters, this time written from jail. The dapper and dignified Ike has been detained as the prime suspect in the disappearance of two cats from his neighborhood. His plaintive letters to his vacationing owner proclaim his innocence and the cats' guilt as pet birds in the area begin to vanish. Newspaper stories are interwoven into the clever format, which also utilizes the device of one side of each spread in color showing what is really happening juxtaposed against a black-and-white illustration denoting Ike's melodramatic (and fictional) description of his unfair treatment as described in his letters. When Ike escapes from jail, he decides he must "take matters into my own paws." He helps the police capture the cats, followed by a police ceremony naming Ike an honorary detective. Teague's innovative approach to storytelling is fun, but educational as well, skillfully imparting some valuable lessons in point of view and reading between the lines. (Picture book. 5-8)

Booklist
October 15, 2004
K-Gr. 3. In Teague's sequel to Dear Mrs. LaRue 0 (2002), a pair of cats hungry for canary flesh have escaped their apartment and left Ike holding the bag--a bag of incriminating cat treats. "Apparently it is easier for some people to blame a dog than to solve a crime," sniffs the offended Ike in a letter to his vacationing owner. As in the first book, children can tease apart truth from exaggeration by interpolating among the letters, the color scenes of reality, and Ike's gumshoe fantasies, cleverly rendered in black and white. It turns out that the "daring escape" from police custody is really a casual leave-taking ("I'm sure he'll come back when he gets hungry," says the officer in charge); his nighttime investigations are conducted from the comfort of a posh hotel room. The noir-inspired premise drifts farther from doggy reality than the first book's, but children will get a thrill out of piecing together the mystery alongside the wily, self-serving, yet eminently lovable Ike. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2004 Booklist

School Library Journal
October 1, 2004
K-Gr 3-As in Dear Mrs. LaRue (Scholastic, 2002), "local dog" Ike LaRue tells his story through a series of misleading letters to his owner. When two neighborhood cats disappear, the pup winds up a jailed suspect. A black-and-white illustration depicts his pitiful plight as he would like Mrs. LaRue to imagine it-sadly blowing on a harmonica in jail. The real situation, in which he shares doughnuts and coffee with a friendly police officer, is revealed in a color illustration on the same spread. This type of juxtaposition continues as Ike slips out to track down the cats on his own. Pictures reveal that the tireless legwork he describes to his owner is actually time spent relaxing in a luxury hotel. Despite his life of ease, the pooch finally does find the missing felines, and he becomes a hero. The contrast between the melodrama of Ike's imagined world and the comfort of his true experiences should elicit many smiles. The placement of the color and black-and-white scenes varies with each spread, which helps prevent the pictorial construct from being predictable or repetitive. Teague's visual characterizations of animals and people are also a treat. Ike displays a variety of emotions and attitudes, often subtly conveyed by posture, facial expression, or even just the tilt of an eyebrow. The cat-bashing references in the dog's letters add another touch of humor to this satisfying epistolary tale.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Publishers Weekly
July 19, 2004
Last seen heroically saving his owner, Mrs. LaRue, obedience s

Publishers Weekly
Last seen heroically saving his owner, Mrs. LaRue, obedience school dropout and creative letter writer Ike returns for another canine caper in this snappy follow-up. This time out, the pooch fond of putting pen to paper is suspected of complicity in the disappearance of Mrs. Hibbins's cats (who happen to be Ike's longtime nemeses). Just as the cats go missing, so do several canaries and other birds from local pet stores. Coincidence? Ike thinks not. Feeling wrongly accused and unfairly detained by police, Ike escapes custody and investigates the Hibbins mystery himself. All the while he keeps Mrs. LaRue, who is on a European vacation, apprised of his progress in letters worthy of a pup with a penchant for melodrama: "An unfortunate misunderstanding (as well as very sloppy police work) has landed me in jail," he writes. Teague once again lets readers in on the fun-viewing the action both as it happens (in full-color scenes) and as embellished in Ike's imagination (featured in black-and-white). For example, the postscript "P.S. Imagine how I feel cooped up inside this loathsome dungeon!" accompanies a color illustration of Ike and a police officer playing a hand of cards in a sunny room, as well as a black-and-white image of Ike being innocently duped by the cats. Lively acrylics paired with comical correspondence result in a picture book that will have Ike fans howling. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
As he did in the notable and prize-winning Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School, Teague tells a double story in letters and pictures. In one, the hapless dog has been arrested for catnapping and blued pictures show the poor, pathetic Ike languishing in jail and planning his escape to nail the bird-eating felines that escaped through an open window while their owner wasn't home. Eventually he "rescues" the cats. Ike's hand-lettered mail to Mrs. LaRue away in Europe tells this version. But the full story is really that Ike is fully enjoying his stint in jail, his break for freedom, and his nailing of the wicked cats. Newspaper articles and headlines from time to time enlighten the reader as to what the human population is making of all of this. Reading Ike's letters is a wonderful reader challenge in inferring what is really going on, and a humorous take on the war between the dog and the cats. Teague's textured acrylic paintings, including rendering of the foiled cat burglars, Ike's smug revelation to the police of the two cats cringing on a fire escape, and an ongoing joke about police detectives and donuts, contribute plenty to the visual verve and great good fun of Ike's adventure. 2004, Scholastic, Ages 5 to 9.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-As in Dear Mrs. LaRue (Scholastic, 2002), "local dog" Ike LaRue tells his story through a series of misleading letters to his owner. When two neighborhood cats disappear, the pup winds up a jailed suspect. A black-and-white illustration depicts his pitiful plight as he would like Mrs. LaRue to imagine it-sadly blowing on a harmonica in jail. The real situation, in which he shares doughnuts and coffee with a friendly police officer, is revealed in a color illustration on the same spread. This type of juxtaposition continues as Ike slips out to track down the cats on his own. Pictures reveal that the tireless legwork he describes to his owner is actually time spent relaxing in a luxury hotel. Despite his life of ease, the pooch finally does find the missing felines, and he becomes a hero. The contrast between the melodrama of Ike's imagined world and the comfort of his true experiences should elicit many smiles. The placement of the color and black-and-white scenes varies with each spread, which helps prevent the pictorial construct from being predictable or repetitive. Teague's visual characterizations of animals and people are also a treat. Ike displays a variety of emotions and attitudes, often subtly conveyed by posture, facial expression, or even just the tilt of an eyebrow. The cat-bashing references in the dog's letters add another touch of humor to this satisfying epistolary tale.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The captivating canine from Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School (2002) returns for a second adventure revealed through Ike the dog's letters, this time written from jail. The dapper and dignified Ike has been detained as the prime suspect in the disappearance of two cats from his neighborhood. His plaintive letters to his vacationing owner proclaim his innocence and the cats' guilt as pet birds in the area begin to vanish. Newspaper stories are interwoven into the clever format, which also utilizes the device of one side of each spread in color showing what is really happening juxtaposed against a black-and-white illustration denoting Ike's melodramatic (and fictional) description of his unfair treatment as described in his letters. When Ike escapes from jail, he decides he must "take matters into my own paws." He helps the police capture the cats, followed by a police ceremony naming Ike an honorary detective. Teague's innovative approach to storytelling is fun, but educational as well, skillfully imparting some valuable lessons in point of view and reading between the lines. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439458689
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Series: LaRue Books
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 187,031
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 12.25 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Teague

Mark Teague is an award-winning children's book author and illustrator whose books include the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling How Do Dinosaurs... series, the LaRue series, FIREHOUSE!, FUNNY FARM, and many other humorous picture books. Mark lives in New York state with his wife and their two daughters.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 27, 2008

    Melodramatic fun for all!

    I asked our children's librarian if she had any more "sarcastic books full of big words, like the Ike Larue series", but oddly enough they don't categorize anything under "sarcasm" at the library. They should. Ike Larue is a sly, sarcastic, very melodramatic and hilarious dog, and we love him! He spins wild tale after wild tale about his misadventures and captures your heart. In this book, Ike is a suspect in the disappearance of two neighborhood cats and has to escape from jail and go on a quest to prove his innocence. He recounts his harrowing adventures in the rough criminal world and eventually emerges as a hero, having rescued the missing cats and incidentally solved the mystery of some canary burglaries as well. The second set of illustrations hints that Ike's life on the run may not be as terrible as he would have us believe. Brilliant writing pulls no punches and will greatly increase any child's vocabulary as the whole family reads this book over and over again. Mrs. Larue is lucky to have him, and you should have him too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2009

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