The Mystery of the Midnight Crunch by Simon Mitchell, illustrated by James Davis (The Five Mile Press)
HB RRP $19.95
Reviewed by Jacque Duffy
What is better than a mystery about a monster? Mitchell’s story combined with Davis’s illustrations is delightful and will engage the young reader’s imagination. On first impressions this book invites you to pick it up and have a read. I was not disappointed when I did. It is not only beautifully illustrated but it is beautifully written. Even the cover is a pleasure to touch with spot laminations making it pleasantly tactile. A book to be read by the independent reader or to share with a child snuggled on your lap as you search the illustrations for clues.
It is the story of Sniffy the Mouse Detective: he is ready for hire and no job is too big or too small. Mrs Hopper, his new client, is convinced she saw a monster in her kitchen. Sniffy doesn’t believe in monsters. But determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, Sniffy and his friend Cooper work hard with humorous results.
The author Simon Mitchell writes a great fast-paced story. His first picture book Louie the Pirate Chef won a place in the International Youth Library’s prestigious White Ravens Catalogue, he also has received critical acclaim for one of his junior novels.
James Davis, the illustrator, is an award-winning artist. His illustrations are striking; he uses simplified shapes but shows strength of colour and depth giving a wonderful sense of ‘other’ to the story. I must confess that thanks to the illustrations of the endpapers, I heard Humphrey Bogart’s voice as I read.
Overall I believe with each of the positive elements rolled into one hard cover this story shared by parent and child will make this book a favorite.
Jacque Duffy is the author and illustrator of the series ‘That’s not a …” learn to read books used in all Queensland State Primary Schools, two picture books and one local history book.