From the Publisher
Egan's animal characters have offbeat dignity that makes them special and his portrayal of a moose unfairly blamed will hit home with young audiences.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
...This may have some potential as a discussion starter on the idea of "innocent until proven guilty." Kirkus Reviews
Cardigan Jones puts a smile on trial by jury and just might teach young readers ... about jumping to conclusions.
School Library Journal
Grown-ups may detect a "Law and Order" spoof at work, but youngsters should find much food for thought.
Egan's (Serious Farm) eponymous hero, a sweater-wearing moose, is new in town. After he stops to smell an apple pie on Mrs. Brown's window sill, he finds himself accused of theft when it goes missing. Cardigan proclaims his innocence, but "noticing that he had pie crust on his shirt, [the police] arrested him." The suspect is hauled before a judge, subjected to the confident assertions of witnesses ("That moose right there," says a rabbit neighbor of Mrs. Brown, pointing at the appalled Cardigan, "He stole it"), and pretty much convicted on the spot ("He's a troublemaker," says a gopher, even before Cardigan takes the stand). Egan plays the proceedings with a characteristically straight face. His deadpan prose plus his tight, almost claustrophobic framings and grim-faced accusers add up to a taut courtroom drama. He plants clues to the mystery's solution, and the sage judge, picking up on them, suspects where the real blame lay. ("Everyone immediately felt terrible for being so rotten to Cardigan," Egan notes.) Grown-ups may detect a Law and Order spoof at work, but youngsters should find much food for thought in the story's message about the importance of presumed innocence. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Egan's plump animal characters once again assume human postures and emotions. Cardigan, a new moose in town, is accused of stealing a homemade pie from an open window. It's not a fresh concept, but it's handled here in a judiciously delicious way. Witness after witness places him at the scene. Fortunately, the judge (a hippo in robe and wig) is observant and despite the jeers of the crowd and jury, he suggests that the evidence is circumstantial. Cardigan admits to taking a whiff of the pie but proffers his innocence. Meanwhile, he continually knocks things over with his antlers, toppling courtroom statuary, the flag, and, finally, the judge himself. It doesn't take Solomon to figure out what happened: the whole gang troops back to the open window where pieces of apple pie are splayed out over the shrubbery. "It didn't smell very good any more." Some of the animals in the scene are holding their noses, typical of the way that Egan's clever artwork sneaks up and helps drive the plot. The ink-and-watercolor illustrations, which feature simple lines and lots of white space, are embellished with raised eyebrows, shifty eyes, and deadpan expressions. Cardigan Jones puts a smile on trial by jury and just might teach young readers a thing or two about jumping to conclusions.-Harriett Fargnoli, Great Neck Library, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.