Big Bad Detective Agency

illus. by Bruce Hale. 128p. Scholastic. Feb. 2015. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780545665377; pap. $4.99. ISBN 9780545665384; ebk. $15.99. ISBN 9780545747288.
Gr 3–5—This early chapter book mystery takes place in the kingdom of Fairylandia. Wolfgang, aka the "Big Bad Wolf," is a misunderstood villain falsely accused of trashing the Three Little Pigs' homes. Prince Tyrone has sentenced him to a life of eating porridge in a dungeon. Captain Kreplach informs him that if he were to catch the real culprit, he would be free, so Wolfgang has until sundown to clear his name. He squeamishly teams up with Ferkel, the fourth of The Little Pigs, and they search for clues and look for the guilty party. Classic fairy tale characters are suspects and introduced to readers in quirky 21st-century depictions, resulting in some unhappily ever after contemporary fairy tale legends. Likely suspects include sinister Hansel and Gretel; Ursula, the sultry sea witch; kooky Jack of Beanstalk fame; flakey Cinderella; flamboyant Goldilocks; brusque Puss in Boots; and Snow White and her staff of seven dwarves in the Hi-Ho Diner. Readers will snicker as they discover that some have alibis, some have no motive, and some aren't bright enough to pull off the crime. Vocabulary includes hip, New Age terms that readers will relate to. Sporadic black-and white cartoons reveal genuine facial expressions. This book will charm readers who enjoy a good mystery and a distinctive approach to comical fairy tales. The ending is clearly a set-up for the next adventure.—Krista Welz, North Bergen High School, NJ
With nods to film noir and slapstick, classic fairy tale figures become suspects and familiar plots get flipped in this chapter book. Falsely accused of destroying the houses of the Three Little Pigs, Big Bad Wolfgang gets one day to clear his name, with the fourth pig sibling as his sidekick. Occasional pencil drawings add to the humor and appeal.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing