Books Message in a Bottle Picture Book Challenge 2011 Picture Books Reading Themes

The Plot Thickens in ‘Detective LaRue: Letters from the Investigation’ Written and Illustrated by Mark Teague

PictureBook Reading Challenge Update: 13 out of 72

We follow Ike LaRue’s story in the sequel to Dear Mrs. LaRue, Letters from Obedience School in this spine-tingling picture book suspense, Detective LaRue: Letters from the Investigation. This time, our daring dog-hero has been framed and accused in what is described as a “possible case of feline foul play.” The charming Hibbins’ cats are missing and Mrs. Hibbins is beside herself since she is convinced that Ike had something to do with her cats’ disappearance. Naturally, Ike had to clear his “spotless” reputation and he makes certain that he updates Mrs. LaRue (who at the time is currently vacationing in Europe) about what is truly happening in the investigation – the behind-the-scenes, so to speak.

In the tradition of Dear Mrs. La Rue, Mark Teague narrates the story ingeniously using pastiche – a descriptive collage of letters and newspaper clippings. And once again, there is more to what Ike is writing to Mrs. LaRue in his letters than meets the eye – with the monochrome illustrations depicting a different reality when contrasted with the brightly-colored drawings as seen here:

Which picture tells the truth? The pitiful, teary eyed, black and white state of affairs as is written in Ike’s letter to Mrs LaRue? Or could it be that he’s actually enjoying himself in the police station (gasp)?
In dire conditions? Or in a Posh Hotel? Hmm.. I smell something fishy.

It seems like the truth is always more complex when Ike is the one sharing his version of reality. Yet despite this (and perhaps even because of this), Ike remains curiously endearing especially as he takes his avid readers to a whirlwind of canary crimes, daring escapes from the prison cell, and valuable realizations learned from the streets that “cats regularly capture and eat small animals” – how awful!

This lovely picture book is perfect for young children, making them squeal out loud with the hilarious illustrations which complement the narrative oh-so-beautifully. And yes, you will be kept at the edge of your seat figuring out who the murderers of our feathered friends are, and where exactly the Hibbins’ cats could possibly be.

The cats look deliriously happy at being ‘saved’ by our dog-hero. =)

3 comments on “The Plot Thickens in ‘Detective LaRue: Letters from the Investigation’ Written and Illustrated by Mark Teague

  1. Pingback: Ike Runs for Office in ‘LaRue for Mayor: Letters from the Campaign Trail’ Written and Illustrated by Mark Teague |

  2. Pingback: February Round-Up: Reading through the Month of Love and Announcement of 1st batch of Whodunit Winners |

  3. Pingback: [Cybils Saturday] Of Ribbity Pigs, Wolves and Foxes, and Sweet Mother Goose |

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