Jake Gander: Storyville Detective

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At the start of this deadpan parody of nursery stories and gumshoes, Jake Gander (who's a guy, not a goose) puts down his Once Upon a Times newspaper to field a call from Red R. Hood. "It was a code P.W.T. (Possible Wolf Trouble)," he intones. At the home of Red's Granny, Jake finds a brown beast sprawled under a purple duvet, but does not jump to conclusions: "I decided to take our little party downtown to clear things up." The resolute but dim investigator who appears in black-and-white while all around him is in color inspects this "Granny's" pointy ears and bulging, hard-boiled-egg eyes; later he learns the real Granny is on vacation. Meanwhile, the pot-bellied wolf never resists arrest. With its lockjaw grin and unfocused stare, the silent perp appears more neurotic than predatory, and Red seems quite unruffled by the situation. First-time author artist McClements mimes the punchy first-person style of detective fiction and presents the evidence as snapshots paperclipped to a yellow manila folder. Visual jokes a diagram of Humpty Dumpty's fall, a filing cabinet labeled "Frogs (non-princely)" provide mild levity in the collage illustrations. But unlike the sustained Mother Goose send-up in last year's The Web Files, this book is an open-and-shut case. Ages 3-7. (July) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
When Red R. Hood calls detective Jack Gander, he knows right away that this is code P.W.T. (Possible Wolf Trouble). He drives to 1212 Granny Lane and hears from Red that Granny has a strange new and furry look. They take Granny down to the police station where Jack notices that Granny's ears are unusually big. An ear comparison chart confirms his suspicions: "Just as I thought, Granny's ears should be as small as my paycheck." Then he examines Granny's teeth and eyes against dental records and standard #12 wire-frame bifocals. But the case isn't solved until Red shows Jack the W page in The Big Book of Furry Things. That's when he declares that the phony Granny is Harry A. Wolf (a.k.a. Big Bad). Jack arrests him for impersonation and shedding. Fans of corny humor will enjoy this spoof of Red Riding Hood. The illustrations appear as photos paper-clipped to the page. The big bad wolf wears purple slippers on his toenails and a too small purple bed jacket. He accommodates Jack's investigation by opening his mouth so wide we get a view of his very pink tonsils. Part of the "Jake Gander, Storyville Detective" series. 2002, Hyperion Books,
— Jackie Hechtkopf
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-Jake is called in by Red R. Hood to determine if her grandmother has been replaced by an impostor. Arriving at the scene, it is clear that something is amiss and as the clues mount, the Storyville cop builds his case and ultimately gets his man-Harry A. Wolf (aka Big Bad). While the text is chock-full of witticisms, it is a bit sophisticated, e.g., "They were as sharp as an aged piece of cheddar." "In an ironic twist of fate, he is now working in the Hood division of the Storyville Prison." Fortunately, McClements's creative collages of images, words, and pictures save the book from obscurity. Comical depictions of the villain show large yellow jaws accompanied by a slouching oversized body. The town of Storyville is a mishmash of real-world objects and cartoon scenery. Puzzles abound as each picture poses a pun or story-related clue to figure out. Littered throughout the landscape are references to popular fairy tales, from boxes containing puppy-dog tails and magic beans to pictures of a house made out of a boot and a portrait of a goose with a golden egg. Children will take pleasure in revisiting each illustration and deciphering the cleverly constructed meanings.-Louie Lahana, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An extraordinarily obtuse detective is called upon to solve a mystery: why is Red R. Hood's Granny shedding? A series of "snapshots" paper-clipped to pastel yellow scrapbook pages provides the illustrations as Jake Gander hauls Granny in and then, in deadpan text, submits her to an investigation. Jake (always pictured in black-and-white) and Red are cartoon-like, in that pseudo-retro fashion so popular in animation these days. The furry Granny, squeezed into a frilly purple nightie and cap, is amusingly huge, ugly, and hairy. Detective Gander frowns and strokes his lantern jaw as he examines Granny's ears against an ear comparison chart, her eyes against the standard-issue granny glasses, and her teeth against dental X-rays, until Red provides the solution (with the help of a reference book): "Our phony Granny was none other than . . . Harry A. Wolf! (a.k.a. Big Bad)." The whole conceit begs comparison to last year's zany Palatini/Egielski romp, The Web Files, after which this is a pretty pallid offering. Readers sophisticated enough to understand the play against the familiar tale will be bored; younger kids will simply be baffled. An extra. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786806621
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 7/1/2002
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 8.87 (w) x 11.32 (h) x 0.32 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2002

    a funny spoof

    An excellent book. The art work is very detailed and fun, there are a number of subtle details to look out for. The story is written from Jake's point of view, who is depicted in black and white, thereby emphasizing how he never really fits into Storyville, where he lives and works. A funny twist on an old classic!!!

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