It’s the summer of 2012 and most of the Twolegs in Chichester, England are having a
good time but not Mr Penfold because someone has stolen his dog. A little red-headed
Twoleg was last seen leading the dog away – but that was days ago. Button and Stitchley,
two intrepid spiders living in North Street, decide to get to the bottom of the crime.
They enlist the help of other creatures in the city to find out just who the vile dognapper is.
But it’s not easy; the cats hate the dogs; the mice are not too fond of the falcons and don’t
even mention the bats!
This one is written for the middle grade readers. Yet, it was entertaining for me as an avid, adult reader as well. The simple descriptions build up a world quickly within the early pages of talking animals and grudging respect between the different species – spiders, cats, and falcons. The setting feels a little like London, yet has enough different that it provides its own charm.
The pace was a gentle romp through the mystery, clues, and resolution that I think is perfectly suitable for the target audience. There is a moral that seems to be hidden within the world, and the pace enables the reader to absorb it without having to make it either very prominent or condescending toward the readers.
The character development is very well done. In most of the cases the animal descriptions could be left out, and you would have polite young boys and girls, snooty boys and girls, and even a couple of bullies (who do get their come-uppance in the end.)
While this is written as a mystery, the exploration of the city provides plenty of opportunity for the pace of the story to bog down. This never happens, because each time a new area is introduced, either a new clue is presented, or a new character is discovered who may help or hinder with the investigation. Also, Christopher does a wonderful job working around the limitations presented by his choice of animals as the cast of this tale, with many of the humorous work arounds they had to do in order to get the gathered information needed by the humans to the humans in order to solve the case.
Well done, and a well deserved five out of five stars for this one.
If you are curious and wish to read a sample, or purchase this book, it is available on Amazon here. Happy reading everyone!
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