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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
The Case of the Missing Poodle: A Detective Ducky Story is a children’s picture book written by Ben Kubicek. Detective Ducky was poised to dig into a plate of beans -- his favorite food -- when a grief-stricken young girl walked into his office. Her name was Betsy, and she needed his expert detecting services to help find her missing dog. She had taken her poodle, Poopsey, to the dog park and did some reading while Poopsey was playing. When it was time to go, Poopsey was nowhere to be found. Could Detective Ducky help her? Ducky wondered at the undignified name the poor dog had been given, but who was he to turn down a case, particularly when the client was a very sad blonde? She agreed to his fee, and the two set off together to retrace Betsy and Poopsey’s steps.
Ben Kubicek’s The Case of the Missing Poodle is a wise and funny story featuring a hard-boiled 1950s era detective who just happens to be a short and stocky duck with a penchant for eating beans. As I read this at times hilarious story, I could hear Detective Ducky narrating the facts of the case in the gruff, detective-sounding voice one associates with those old classic movies. Illustrator Erik Stone’s artwork brilliantly reinforces the odd dichotomy of a detecting ducky, creating a classic private investigator’s office complete with large wooden desk and diplomas adorning the walls, and offset by the incongruous figure of Detective Ducky in all his glory with a huge stockpile of bean cans neatly arranged on the wall behind his desk.
Every so often, a children’s author creates a book that is as much fun for the parent or caregiver reading it aloud as it is for their audience. Sometimes, the adult is privileged to get even more out of the book than those kids, who are still having a grand time, but won’t quite get the full gist of the joke for a few more years. This is one of those special books. Move over, Dashiell Hammett -- parents, feel free to try out your own Bogart impression while reading this aloud during story time. The Case of the Missing Poodle: A Detective Ducky Story is most highly recommended.