Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep by Anthony Pearson, illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris

Eduardo Guadardo is about to graduate from the FBI. That would be the Fairy-tale Bureau of Investigations. Eduardo may look cute and fluffy, but he's going to be an elite sheep and he's going to get there on his own! He's passed all the tests and now he's getting his very own case! Eduardo explains what's going on to the audience as he reads through his dossier - Mary Sawyer, daughter of a wealthy farmer, is in danger of being kidnapped! Eduardo is on the case, in control, and ready for everything.

Except that witch. And the troll. And that speedboat. And... maybe Eduardo does need some help after all?

In a delightful flipping of events, sweet little Mary reappears in a pantsuit, clipboard in hand, and kindly but firmly explains to the deflated sheep that just having skills isn't enough - he has to have teamwork as well! Once Eduardo realizes he's still got things to learn - and a team to be part of - he's ready to be junior agent to Mary Sawyer and they start their first case together; hunting down some lost lambs!

This over-the-top reimagining of Mary had a little lamb is sure to tickle the funny bones of children, whether or not they know the original story. There have been a plethora of "fairy tale mystery" movies in the past few years and my colleague has had a really positive response from another nursery rhyme mystery book, Levinthal's Who pushed Humpty Dumpty? and of course there's Dosh Archer's "Urgency Emergency" easy readers, so there's quite a few titles in this area, but there's definitely room for one more, especially one as funny as this.

Verdict: A great title to read to storytime on its own, to a classroom to teach them about the formation of plot, mystery, and fractured fairy tales, and to emphasize the importance of teamwork. The contrast of an arrogant young male who thinks he knows everything and the seasoned ability of a woman at the top of her field doesn't hurt either! Recommended.

ISBN: 9781503902909; Published October 2018 by Two Lions; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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