Books GB Challenges Picture Book Challenge 2011 Picture Books PoC Reading Challenge 2011 Whodunit Reading Challenge

Bananas, Apes, and Cold Trails: Detective Small in the Amazing Banana Caper by Wong Herbert Yee

Whodunit Theme for May/June

This fairly-simple picture book has no blood, gore, or crime – but a mystery needs to be solved with the very thorough assistance of Detective Small, thus, it seems like a good-enough fit for our Whodunit Theme for May/June.

Missing Bananas, a Thief, and an Ice-cold Trail (in Rhyme to boot). The second page sets the whodunit feel for the entire book:

Late last night, while the city was sleeping,

From market to market, a shadow came creeping.

The crook tiptoed past, pulled a mask on his face –

The perfect crime was about to take place!

What is this horrendous crime, you might wonder?

Creepy indeed... setting the tone for the 'perfect' crime

Missing bananas, dear friends! Not a single banana can be found “From Chinatown to Little Havana” – nada, they have disappeared from sight. Not in the grocery stores, nor the mercado. The community folks have summoned psychics, huge rewards offered – but no clue. “The trail had gone cold, every lead a dead end.” Thus, it is necessary to call on…Detective Small.

Who is Detective Small?

Detective Small in Action

As the name implies, Detective Small is a wee bit tiny. Yet his powers of observation and his eye for detail are prodigious. While others gnashed their teeth and tore their hair out in exasperation, our smart detective found hairs and a shoe print and “a scrap of cloth snagged on a nail.”

Our lil detective is relentless (while munching on lunch of course)

I like how the images have tiny clues and funny captions if the reader is keen in looking at details. Older kids might appreciate the visual ‘wit’ more than the younger ones though. While the illustrations and the rhyming aspect of the narrative may not appeal to all types of audience, the strength of the book lies in the detective’s following through every missing clue ala CSI: sniffing out clues under the table, matching bootprints and animal hooves,
and having that eureka moment of insight after a ten-minute snooze. It is also not as clear-cut as you might have originally thought.

Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

About the Author. Wong Herbert Yee was born in Detroit, Michigan and grew up with four sisters and two brothers. In his website, he shared that while life has not been all fun and games when he was young, he discovered that he could draw when one of his drawings was put up on display in their bulletin board when he was in first grade. That perhaps signaled the beginning of the end for him. Over the years, Yee has published a number of children’s books, one of which won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award in 2010. Click here to be taken to his ‘almost-wordless’ blog.

Detective Small in the Amazing Banana Caper by Wong Herbert Yee. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 2007. Book borrowed from the community library.

PictureBook Challenge Update: 71 of 72

PoC Challenge Update: 35 (25)

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

5 comments on “Bananas, Apes, and Cold Trails: Detective Small in the Amazing Banana Caper by Wong Herbert Yee

  1. Love that rhyming intro – seems like a definite Whodunnit to me and a pretty wicked crime to boot! I checked out the author’s website, whom I did not know and I think I would love his early readers with Mouse and Mole.


    • myragarcesbacsal

      Hi Joanna, yes, the Mouse and Mole books seemed pretty nice too. I haven’t seen that around here though.


  2. Oh! We love Fireman Small, so I am sure that Detective Small will be a hit too- plus, my son has a sudden fascination with mysteries and things like fingerprint kits. I will check our library!


    • myragarcesbacsal

      Hi Lori. You should definitely check it out. And do send me a link if you decide to review it.


  3. Pingback: Books, Conferences, and Whodunits: A May Affair Round-up |

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