Friday, January 22, 2016

Rider Woofson: The Case of the Missing Tiger's Eye by Walker Styles, illustrated by Ben Whitehouse

A new detective is on the scene, tirelessly working to keep the citizens of Pawston safe, it's...Rider Woofson!

In his first case, we meet Rider Woofson and his friends and assistants in the Pup Investigators Pack. With the gadgets of Westie Barker, smart and pretty investigator Rora Gooddog, and young Ziggy Fluffenscruff's nose, they solve crimes and keep citizens safe. When a valuable gem goes missing, it takes all of their talents and skills working together to solve the mystery...but have they found the real criminal behind the scenes?

I was looking at an ARC with unfinished art, but the black and white sketches seem light and funny, definitely adding humor and interest to the simple text.

This will definitely be a big hit with fans of the popular Paw Patrol tv series, both as a read-aloud and as a beginning chapter as they age up out of easy readers. It's an excellent transitional chapter book, with short paragraphs, a large font, and a mix of popular topics - dogs, mysteries, and jokes.

I was disappointed, but not surprised by the lack of gender diversity displayed. There's only one female member of the team, who is, of course, described as "pretty", makes stereotypical comments about wanting diamonds, and whose role seems to be mainly making smart comments and trying to get the male members of the team to behave. She takes no active part in solving the case other than getting buried under wigs at one point and yelling for help and pointing out some paw prints at the end.

It would be great if Little Simon could get on board and start diversifying their chapter book offerings - they have some great ideas for series, but I generally skip them because of the lack of diversity. However, hopefully Rora Gooddog will have a more active role in future titles and I'm willing to give this one a chance.

Verdict: The combination of popular themes - mysteries, jokes, and animals - should make this early chapter book popular with a wide range of children. I can't recommend it wholeheartedly because of the stereotyped representation of the one female character, but I'm hoping that will improve into the series and am willing to take a chance on it.

ISBN: 9781481460156; Published January 2016 by Little Simon; ARC provided by publisher

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