A few years ago I was sent a deliciously funny picture book about lacewing (a kind of insect) called Ace Lacewing, who is a detective. The author created a whole insect-centric world for his detective to live in, and I greatly enjoyed looking at the art and chuckling over the wordplay that was sprinkled throughout the book. For today's picture book I have reviewed the second book in this series.
Ages 8 to 10
Charlesbridge, 2009, 1-57091-569-5
One day a small flea called Scratch Murphy walks in Ace Lacewing’s detective agency door. Scratch explains that a lot of money that he was taking to the bank to repay a loan was stolen from him. He was on his way to the bank with the money when a carpenter ant toolbox was dropped on his head (he has the bump to prove it). When he came to, his bag of money was gone.
Ace takes on Scratch’s case and soon he and his “gal,” Xerces, are talking to the bank manager. Though the roach does appear to be flush with money, he refuses to talk, so Ace decides to try to find out who “might be out to exterminate Scratch Murphy.”
Certainly, the carpenter ants aren’t very keen on Scratch, but they are not the only ones who would like to “scratch Scratch out.” Ace decides to have a chat with Bo Weevil, who apparently fought with Scratch all the time. Though Bo has a reason to be mad with Scratch, he is a very paternal bug, and he doesn’t seem like the violent type. He suggests that Ace should talk to Ace’s girlfriend, Lady DeBug. When Ace and Xerces meet the elegant ladybug, they discover that all is not what it seems. Could it be that the thief was a member of Scratch’s family?
In this amusing Ace Lacewing mystery, the famous bug detective once again solves a puzzling crime, interviewing suspects and finally uncovering the villain responsible for the theft of Scratch’s money. Clever word play and deliciously detailed illustrations make this a title that adults will be happy to share with their children.