"Two police mice, one missing cake, a bunch of suspects — it’s a big case!
When Miss Rabbit leaves her carrot cake (with cream-cheese icing) out to cool and returns later to find only a mess of crumbs, she calls Detective Wilcox and Capt. Griswold. Over 100 animals on Ed’s farm means there’s a lot of suspects. Tongue firmly in cheek, Wilcox tells the story of this challenging case in clipped tones reminiscent of Dragnet. Fowler, the observant owl, loves rabbits, he informs readers. 'She liked them for breakfast. She liked them for lunch. And she loved them for dinner.' His narration is peppered with food references that elevate this entertaining mystery, already fizzing with humor and inside jokes. To open their investigation, they slide down the rabbit hole, but Miss Rabbit does not have a crumb of an idea. The repeated food-based idioms (hard nut to crack, slower than molasses, take the cake) alternate with puns that a young reader will appreciate. When questioning Porcini the pig, Wilcox accuses, 'Seems like you’ve spent some time in the pen.' The droll language is complemented with full-color cartoon illustrations that extend the text and add to the laughter. Readers ready for chapter books will solve the crime and then be surprised by the twist at the end.
Here’s hoping for more hard-boiled detecting from Wilcox and Griswold! (Mystery. 5-9)"
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"The droll language is complemented with full-color cartoon illustrations that extend the text and add to the laughter." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"A fun transition between early readers and longer chapter books this mystery will engage readers as they try to discover who took the missing carrot cake."
—Alyson Beecher, KidLitFrenzy
"I love the fact that the detectives are mice, and that they are MFI's (Missing Food Investigators). That is just plain awesomeness there! The story is everything a kid could want -- the writing is kid-friendly, there are cute main characters, a mystery to solve, humor, and great illustrations. . . Kids are going to love this one!"
—This Kid Reviews Books
"Simultaneously no-nonsense and full of nonsense, Newman’s Dragnet-style narrative works in a bevy of food- and animal-themed crime jokes as the two Missing Food Investigators interview suspects across the farmyard (Porcini the pig’s rap sheet “was a mile long for corn robberies, but he had no cake priors”). Zemke’s cartoons, a mix of spot illustrations and full-page images, keep step with the lighthearted mood; it’s a good pick for fans of Geoffrey Hayes’s Otto and Uncle Tooth, Jennifer Lloyd’s Murilla Gorilla, and other literary sleuths in the making."
"I am always on the lookout for great early readers. When I find one, I want everyone to know about it. Robin Newman's The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake is one of the best early readers I've read this year. It is hilarious and has a fun twist at the end."
"When crime happens, especially when food goes missing on the farm, everyone knows who to call: Wilcox and Griswold, mouse crime fighters and food detectives. When Miss Rabbit’s carrot cake goes missing, they’re on the case. Using the latest technology (video surveillance) and old-fashioned police interrogations, they get to the bottom of the mystery. There are plenty of amusing characters and even more hilarious puns to be found along the way. With lovely, warm full-color illustrations on every page and case file/journal–style entries, this simple tale will be a hit for advanced beginning readers. It is a fantastic choice for that last step before chapter books (perhaps before another famous mouse detective/journalist known for his illustrated easy chapter books). Sweet and charming, this title offers a simple mystery that provides just the right amount of whodunit mixed with humor and good friendship."
—School Library Journal
"Be prepared to grin and grin again from the first page to the very last courtesy of clever word play written by Robin Newman. Readers are treated to case-solving lingo, puns and well-known phrases expertly inserted into the narrative and dialogue. Detective Wilcox carries the conversations while Captain Griswold's stares and glares make their own statements. Each episode ends with a definitive thought by Wilcox, A hard nut indeed. Or Slower than molasses indeed. for example. To heighten the thrill of the chase, times and places begin the chapters and portions within chapters.
The crumpled paper spattered with cake crumbs covers both the front and back of the book case. On a file folder with a tab reading CAKE, CARROT book blurbs are featured on the opened left. One look at the determined faces of Detective Wilcox and Captain Griswold framed in the oval on the right and you know the crooks will be captured. The opening and closing endpapers continue the theme with the Case Report containing the publication information opposite the title page at the beginning. The dedications are paper-clipped to the top. At the end an evidence folder appears on the left with wanted descriptions of the author and illustrator on the right.
The illustrations rendered by Deborah Zemke using a full-color palette are a blend of spot insertions, oval headers for chapters, full page pictures framed in a white border, smaller images on a single page and a two page illustration surrounding the text. These variations in size enhance the pacing to perfection. She skillfully maintains perspective with the animal sizes on the farm. Facial features and body language add to the comedy.
Zemeke's details are as playful as the text. The squad car is a wind-up toy. When taking pictures at the crime scene, Captain Griswold uses an old-style flash camera. At one point Fowler The Owl is wearing a gas mask.
One of my favorite illustrations is of the squad car traveling down the road at the start of the story. We are given a bird's eye view of the farm complete with two chickens crossing the road in a crosswalk with an appropriate sign at the side. I dare you not to laugh when you see the wind-up key sticking out the side of the policemouse car.
This early reader. . .is one you don't want to miss. Whether you read it to yourself or as a read aloud plan on a chorus of "read it again" and shared smiles. It's one case you won't want to close. I would stock multiple copies. An every-last-crumb-will-be-consumed Mollie Katzen's Carrot Cake recipe is included at the end. A second book is coming in the fall of 2016. Hooray!"
— Librarian's Quest
"When Miss Rabbit’s carrot cake goes missing the day before her big party, Griswold and Wilcox must investigate a farm full of fun, colorful suspects—and it will take smarts (and a delicious dose of humor) to crack the case.
An easy-to-read mystery with plenty of clues to point readers in the right direction, the book includes the recipe for Miss Rabbit’s tasty carrot cake from bestselling cookbook author, Mollie Katzen, and comes with a downloadable curriculum guide available for classroom use which teaches problem solving, logic skills, and storytelling.
Children will love this funny, friendly twist on classic mystery and detective stories as they follow the clues through pages filled with engaging illustrations and an entertaining, interactive story."
— 2nd & Church
"Giving a playful nod to the hard-boiled detective, Newman has written a highly entertaining mystery for young gumshoes. Zemke’s cartoonish illustrations range from spot to full page and also play up the classic detective angle, outfitting the MFIs in fedoras and trenches. Presented as a case file, short chapters will be easily digestible to newly independent readers. A recipe for Mollie Katzen’s carrot cake closes the case, though adults will need to lend young bakers a hand. A good choice for those not quite ready to tackle Chet Gecko or Geronimo Stilton on their own."
"From the moment I saw the cover of The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake: A Wilcox and Griswold Mystery, I was intrigued. Author Robin Newman and illustrator Deborah Zemke have done a fantastic job at grabbing your attention from the get go. Not only do the first few lines make it quite clear that you and/or your child will get to step into a detective story and wade through the clues right along with the cute animal characters, but the adorable imagery adds so much to the book. The book starts off with a welcome letter from the main character, Detective Wilcox. Then you move into the story and discover more than a mystery to solve. You and your child will discover opportunities that will inspire giggles. "Traffic was light - only a couple of chickens crossing the road," brought a giggle and a smile from my son immediately. Then, following the detective and his captain on their search for clues gives readers a chance to help figure out the mystery of the missing cake.
Newman's story, The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, isn't missing anything. It is well-written and keeps young readers entertained through humorous story telling and colorful pictures on page after page, chapter after chapter. There is an added bonus with the compassion Hot Dog expresses for Miss Rabbit and her missing cake. Through Hot Dog, Newman shows how wonderful friends can take care of one another without expecting anything in return - even placing themselves at risk occasionally. To top all of this off, there are really cool pieces in the back of the book such as the evidence file that shares bio information on the author and the illustrator in true detective fashion and a recipe for carrot cake. Loved, loved, loved this entertaining story for young children!"
— Readers Favorite Reviews
"These characters will charm Young Readers as they take a romp across the farm to find, what happened to the missing Carrot cake. Simply delicious! Educators, parents, grandparents, and librarians alike are all sure to enjoy this title. A 'Dragnet' type adventure for Children. Well done! I look forward to the next grand adventure. Highly recommended!"
— My Book Addiction Reviews
"My boys and I loved this cute and funny whodunit. It was a fun introduction to the mystery genre for my first grader and refresher for my second grader. We had so much fun trying to figure out who took the carrot cake. I love the Wilcox, such a fun character....with all his police banter and serious looks. My husband is in law enforcement so I found this to be great fun, as did the kids. I highly recommend this great mystery with awesome illustrations!5 stars"
— Mommy Booknerd
"Those who enjoy detective mysteries should enjoy this procedural, yet funny, story. Policemouse Detective Wilcox is setting up the crime scene where the carrot cake is purported to have been stolen. The telling of the story follows an hourly timeline. Farm animal suspects are introduced as they are encountered. Readers with knowledge of idioms will easily pick them out, and there are a number of them. Conversational text is used to develop the story and provide clues. Readers will be able to conjecture who the thief might be and how the crime was committed. Cartoon-like illustrations accompany the text, providing textual support. Those who are ready to dive into chapter books will find that this mystery might leave them with a smile of satisfaction on their face at having used their deductive reasoning. Holly Weimar, Associate Professor, Sam Houston State University, Library Science Department, Huntsville, Texas
— Library Media Connection