The mystery of the midnight crunch by Simon Mitchell
Ill. by James Davis. Five Mile Press, 2014. ISBN 9781743467251
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Crime. Mystery, Animals.
Mrs Hopper is convinced that she has a monster in her house. He comes out at night, and raids the kitchen eating the food, and leaving the room in a dreadful mess. The monster is big, green and furry, with huge feet and a long nasty claw. And it goes crunch in the night. She goes to Sniffy the mouse for help, after all he is a renowned detective. He and his offsider, Cooper, go to Mrs Hopper's house and inspect the damage, accumulating clues as they go. They decide to hide themselves in a cupboard for the night to catch the monster, all the while, Sniffy reassuring Cooper that there is no such thing as monsters.
But falling asleep they are both scared when one does appear and they run to the door, only to find Mrs Hopper coming in. She turns on the light to reveal the 'monster'.
A goodhearted story about a monster, ridiculing the fear some children may have about monsters, but adding a large dose of humour to the underlying message. Sniffy is a cute little mouse full of confidence which subsides when confronted by the monster, and his efforts to solve the case will further entrance the reader. The illustrations are full of life and colour, covering the whole page, full of little things to point out and find, small points to further amuse and intrigue. And I love the end papers, with their Hopper style of illustration showing an empty street in a city with streetlights lighting up small areas of the pavement. A world of discussion is presented here about city life, and the rodents that we share the space with. And a wonderful read aloud as well.