I'm a big Dan Santat fan, so when I heard he partnered with two great authors on a new series, I was in. Really cute story. Great for that mystery/detective unit. Looking forward to more Detective Duck books. I like that the characters work together to solve problems, the non-standard family, and the detecting work.
This is a cute children's book with chapters and a few illustrations to tell the story of a duck being raised by a beaver near Dogwood Pond. A spare tire rolls into the pond, causing many problems. The pond citizens work together to try to solve their problem. Environmental issues are woven into the story in a fun way. Thanks to NetGalley, Abrams Kids, and Amulet Books for providing an ARC.
4 stars = Great! Might re-read.
Fun transitional chapter book for young readers. There are three "mysteries" or challenges for Willow to work through which will keep readers engaged. The environmental message is strong without being heavy handed.
Willow Feathers McBeaver is a little duck with a big dream: she wants to be a detective when she grows up. She is only accidentally and temporarily discouraged; otherwise it is only encouragement from the beginning. I like how her father highlights a specific quality of hers instead of a generic ‘you can do anything’ kind of response. Beaver McBeaver tells her, “your curiosity will come in very handy.”
Willow’s curiosity does come in handy, as does her many friends. Her best friend is Sal, a salamander who can read. It’s Sal who says “You can do anything you want.” But Willow thinks to herself, “It’s easy to say you can do whatever you want, but it’s hard to it.” And the story will eventually revisit that idea. The message is that oftentimes we need help to carry out our “want” or plan. For one, you can’t have a mystery without an event, and one comes in the form of a dramatic action scene: a truck tire rolling right for Willow!
Sal thinks the tire that has crashed into the pond is a UFO, and it does look like the one in the comics he collects. Flitter, the dragonfly, believes a dragon is involved and while scouting the area at Willow’s request, finds a big red metal dragon. It is Willow who pauses and demonstrates some critical thinking, “Let me think over the clues.” A few well thought out questions debunk the dragon and identify the metal red thing for what it is: a truck. A truck has tires.
Willow solves the Mystery of what is in the pond. But that isn’t the end of her Detective work, “Willow knew this was her chance to be a real detective. That rubber tire was polluting her beautiful home. It was up to her to find a way to get rid of it.” Willow assesses her resources--objects she’s collected that are seemingly useless. But Willow will find a use for not only those objects, she will call upon members of the community and troubleshoot a solution as they attempt to remove the tire.
One of the best things about Detective Duck: The Case of the Strange Splash is Willow’s depiction as a small girl duck taking center stage in the effort to solve and resolve what becomes a rescue of not only pollution but an imperiled lily pad café. Not all of Willow’s ideas work, but she problem solves as they try, making adjustments where needed. The other animals respond to her in all positivity and trust. She’s a little girl boss and no one is calling her bossy or complains that she’s taken charge. She is physically present, tying knots, demonstrating great aim with rubber bands and pink bouncy balls, and carving letters in the dirt.
Other things young readers will find appealing: stinky things, ridiculous dad-level jokes, silly names, responsive grown-ups and Dan Santat’s illustrations. Every page of text has an illustration to accompany it, all full of Santat’s characteristic charm and energy. The font, it’s size and the spacing is early (but not emerging) reader friendly and the story engaging enough for the older reader to help or to read aloud repeatedly. With this being a Winkler & Oliver project, they’ve thought through dyslexia-friendly fonts and understands the need for high-interest content. A child can take it a chapter at a time, the authors leaving each chapter on a cliff-hanger that will compel the reader to continue on. Detective Duck: The Case of the Strange Splash is a funny, action-packed read with situations children are interested in. In this short chapter book we get: family; friends; bullies; boundaries; validation; belonging; being heard, believed and entrusted; we get random object collections; food; poop jokes; old folks with stinky breath or oddly-timed jokes; and the empowerment to solve big problems--and not get it perfect the first time.
Willow Feathers and friends started rescuing the Pond before they knew the extent to which it had been imperiled (the lily pad café); they just knew everyone who resided there would benefit from their intervention. They were right. Of the many nice messages Winkler & Oliver dispense within these pages, Willow’s boldness and the community’s proactiveness are among my favorites.
Winkler & Oliver are quick and efficient in their world-building and characterizations, laying the groundwork for what should prove to be a charming and inspiring series. Everyone listed on the cover has proven themselves as successful storytellers for young children—and book one is evidence enough that this will be a winning series for a broad audience. I can easily recommend Detective Duck: The Case of the Strange Splash for more than just our young detectives and environmentalists. This series has an opportunity to encourage and inspire, not just ‘small ducks with big dreams,’ but their relatives, classmates, and neighbors into recognizing them, delighting in them, and helping them.
The review copy I had was an ebook and in black & white. The actual book promises to be full-color and I imagine they’ll be in the vein of two other incredible creative pairings: Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham’s Princess in Black series; Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen’s Mercy Watson series.
Detective Duck: The Case of the Strange Splash is the delightful first book in a much-anticipated new series for young readers. The lively illustrations and playful text will make this the perfect new series for chapter book beginners. Detective Duck not only demands the attention of young readers, it will leave them with anticipation about what will happen next. This is an enjoyable and amusing book that kids will be asking for, and will not want to put down!
This books is adorable! I love the animals and how cute the illustrations are! I can't wait to see this book being well loved!
I thought this was going to be a picture book so I didn't end up reading the whole thing, but I did skim through it. I enjoy Dan Santat's illustrations and it looked like a fun story.
Detective Duck is a sweet story about a non-traditional family and group of friends working together to solve a mystery. Once the mystery is solved, they continue to work each other and their shared environment. The main character, Detective Duck, is likeable and smart, and her beaver father is helpful and supportive. Looking forward to reading the next book in this series!
Such a fun book! This type of book is really needed for young readers and Winkler and Santat created a great one!
This book is adorable! There are so many cute messages our children need to read and be empowered by, but it’s done in a subtle way that it doesn’t feel like reading lessons. This is a great book with cute graphics.
I loved this adorable story of Willow Feather, a duckling, adopted by a beaver, who dreams of being a detective. When a mystery literally splashes into their pond, threatening their community, Willow must use her sleuthing skills to figure out what the item is and how to get it out of the pond. Willow is resilient, creative, determined, and clever, and a strong leader able to find help as well as solutions. Her beaver dad is sensitive and caring, and she has supportive friends. This is a cute, fun mystery for younger readers and animal-lovers!
This is a cute book by a popular author team but I have to admit, I just wasn't sold on it. The Case of the Strange Splash seemed to concentrate more on presenting a lesson rather than on entertainment value. I'm sure it will do well for the authors but I personally wasn't sold on it.
Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver are back together with a book for younger audience. Willow Feathers the duck lives with her adopted father, Beaver McBeaver. Willow wants to grow up to be a detective. Suddenly her pond is invaded by an "alien spaceship." It starts to effect the pond and its inhabitances. Can Willow figure out what it is and how to get rid of it?
This is a great beginning chapter book with full color pictures. I loved this story and I am sure my first graders will too.
Detective Duck: The Case of the Strange Splash is book 1 in a new series by writing duo, Lin Oliver and Henry Winkler. Illustrator Dan Santat provides full color illustrations for this easy reader chapter book. At the heart of the book is the main character Willows Feather McBeaver, and her Dad: Beaver. There are other animal friends (and one foe) that populate the story and aid in solving the mystery: what is that strange object that has rolled into their pond? And how can they get rid of it? As Willows confidence in her detective skills grows (thanks to an encouraging friend) she spearheads the plan to save their pond from human pollution. I recommend this book for kids who like animal stories, and who want to read a series that is equal parts funny and touching.
These are some great authors that created a fun animal mystery book.
Love the illustrations throughout and the fun story!
Thanks NetGalley for this ARC.
I have been a huge fan of Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver ever since their first Hank Zipzer book, so much so that I brought my boys and my mom to see them at the Book Revue in Huntington. They were gracious, funny and kind and we all fell in love with this phenomenal storytelling pair.
And they're at it again!! Meet Willow, also known as Detective Duck, the only fine feathered friend to be fathered by a beaver. (You'll have to read the book to find out how that came to be!) As Willow and her friends from the pond set out on their daily adventures, a mysterious object appears and Willow is determined to find out what it is and where it came from.
The illustrations are charming, the story is entertaining, and the message about protecting our environment is beautifully presented. I'm ready for the next installment in the Detective Duck series and I will definitely be adding this one to my classroom library.