Cosette and Oreo

The Case of the Night Raiders

Children - Picture Book
34 Pages
Reviewed on 01/01/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Philip Van Heusen for Readers' Favorite

Cosette has just received a new puppy; she is very excited and tells her mom she will take good care of Oreo. She quickly falls in love with Oreo and takes special care of him and his needs. However, things were not as they should be. In Cosette and Oreo: The Case of the Night Raiders by Caren Cantrell, strange events happen. It appears Oreo is a naughty puppy. Trash gets knocked over, a cake is partly eaten and destroyed, and other problems occur, for which Oreo is blamed by Cosette’s mom. Does Oreo get a reprieve, or is he the wrongdoer? Will Cosette have to return Oreo to the dog shelter? Read Cosette and Oreo to learn who the real culprits are and how the problem is solved.

Caren Cantrell provides a surprise ending to Cosette and Oreo. She weaves this mystery so that readers will fail to see the cause of the trouble at first. It is a tale about Cosette’s faith in her dog. Readers learn how important it is to keep trusting and trying to solve issues. The need for observation is seen as a valuable trait. Cantrell shows that even children can deduce solutions. The power of love and belief saves little Oreo. Children will also learn that caring for a pet is a big responsibility and involves many different tasks. Cantrell encourages children to stay hungry for knowledge; this hunger is fed by curiosity, so children need to remain curious. Bianca Clark does a wonderful job with the illustrations.

Jamie Michele

Cosette and Oreo: The Case of the Night Raiders by Caren Cantrell revolves around a young girl named Cosette and a rescue puppy named Oreo. The book begins with Cosette and her mother at an adoption day event where Cosette falls in love with Oreo, and they bring him home. Cosette's mother tells her that Oreo is her responsibility, and after a day of playing, Oreo is put to bed under a blanket in the kitchen. The next morning, they find garbage from the kitchen bin scattered on the floor, and Oreo is blamed by Cosette's irate mother. This pattern continues with stern threats from the mother that the new family member, Oreo, will be returned to the shelter if he isn't a good boy.

The theme of someone unfairly blamed for something they are not doing in Cosette and Oreo is one that I appreciate being explored. There is no question that children can rarely defend themselves against accusations by adults convinced the child is wrong, and animals never do. However, this book is unique in that it deals with a mother who is accusatory, verbally abusive, and threatening to her daughter and their pet. This is not a theme I have ever seen in a children's book and I applaud Caren Cantrell for having the courage to make it a central part of the plot. Ultimately, the mother does not apologize, is not reprimanded, and tries to make it better with ice cream, which is sad but also realistic. The illustrations by Bianca Clark are exceptional, with engaging and graphic digital artwork in a rainbow of primary colors. Overall, this is an important, if not perfect, book that provokes conversation about what is and is not acceptable and it shows children they are not alone when it comes to aggression at home. I recommended Cosette and Oreo.