Sunday 6 September 2015

Kizmet and the Case of the Tassie Tiger

Kizmet and the Case of the Tassie Tiger by Frank Woodley (Puffin Books) PB RRP $9.99  ISBN 9780143308546                                                            Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Most will know author Frank Woodley as a comedian, storyteller and artist; now he has branched into writing for children with this book series about a child, a currawong and a detective.

This story begins with a prologue set on a dark page with a partly hidden moon; it tells of a creature, its breath ‘wet and crackly as it crept through the dark’ intending to attack a goat. Then the story segues into a first person tale which begins, ‘we had arrived home from Scotland after solving the riddle of the golden badger’s bum hole.’ The narrator here, and for the rest of the book, is Gretchen, the cheeky bird who enjoys a diet of blowflies. She and her partner, Kizmet Papanicillo, an inquisitive young girl, have solved a string of crimes and are about to embark on yet another case.

This chapter book, aimed at children aged 7 to 10 years, is fast-paced and abounds with episodes where adults have slapstick misadventures where they come out looking foolish. The author obviously feels children will laugh at; perhaps they will, though the episodes come across as ham-fisted to this adult reader. Action, however, is non-stop and Kizmet and Gretchen work together happily as a team.

One aspect of the book some young readers might find troublesome is reading speech by one of the main characters who suffers from a lisp. Neverthless, for readers who enjoy mysteries, especially when they can, like Kizmet, work out clues to reveal the culprit, this is sure to be a good read. 

Woodley is a talented illustrator and his line-and-wash, well-placed pictures help to make this book appealing.

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