Sunday 9 January 2022

I Really Dig Pizza! A Mystery!

I Really Dig Pizza! A Mystery! and We Will Find Your Hat! A Conundrum! by Candy James (Harper Collins) ISBN 978 1460 760802 and 978 1460 760819 RRP $16.99 (RRP)

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

I Really Dig Pizza! A Mystery! is the first in a series of graphic early readers about two friends called Archie and Reddie, who are foxes. Humorous dialogue in speech bubbles accompanies the comical illustrations in this page-turning story. It begins with Archie finding a pizza, which he buries with a digger (for later) and continues with Reddie, who has found a mysterious pile of dirt. Archie tries to distract Reddie from it but she finds a lot of clues and then the story finishes with the two friends sharing a pizza. A happy ending!

This format is good for kids who are moving on from picture books towards chapter books. The pictures show Archie and Reddie’s facial expressions clearly, along with any action involved. The dialogue is short with straightforward words. Any others can be easily worked out from context.

The second Archie and Reddie book We Will Find Your Hat! A Conundrum! is a funny story about what happens when Archie loses his favourite hat on ‘Hat Day’. Reddie helps him look for it before they go to the party, but it’s not so easy because Archie has a multitude of different hats. Archie needs to explain exactly what his favourite one looks like, which is tricky because it turns out it is invisible. And it is already on his head.

Both books use quirky plays on words like when Archie asks, ‘Are you ready, Reddie?’ to which she replies, ‘I’m always ready!’ Also, Archie says, ‘Witch Hat.’ Reddie replies, ‘This  hat.’ and this is repeated until Reddie says, ‘Oh, I get it. Heh heh.’ So, it is also good for learning some tricks of the English language in an enjoyable way.


Candy James is a husband-wife combination, whose stories are based on a couple of soft toys their daughter had when she was young. They have a website with activities and videos and, no doubt, many more books to come. I Really Dig Pizza and We Will Find Your Hat are entertaining reads for early primary schoolers.

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