Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, book burglar by Emily MacKenzie
Bloomsbury, 2015. ISBN 9781408843130
(Age: 4+) Warmly recommended. Books. Libraries. Crime. When Arthur notices that some of his favourite books are missing from his bookshelves, he decides to do a little sleuthing. He loves his books, his bookshelves are groaning under the weight of his favourite fairy tales and picture books, but sometimes he finds a half eaten carrot on the emptying shelves. He sits up one night, torch in hand, Teddy for company and when he hears a noise shines the torch and sees the thief. It is a rabbit. The Police are no help at all, and Arthur is sure he can hear laughter down the telephone line. But one night, Ralfy burrows into the wrong house in his search for books, that of PC Puddle, the laughing policeman and so is caught. A clever test reveals which rabbit is the culprit and a clever twist sees both avid readers happy.
This is a charming homage to books and reading, to reading being a pastime of many children, and the role of libraries in our lives. Along the way it reveals the role of police officers, and shows some of the methods sleuths use in their detective work. Children will be intrigued with the variety of things Arthur uses to catch his thief and the methods he uses.
The illustrations are very cute, with books to be found on every page, reinforcing the theme of the story. The lists of favourite books parodying famous book titles will cause a ripple of recognition with the adult reader, adding to the humour as the story is read aloud. Younger children will be introduced to titles of classic books which they will come across in their reading lives or maybe one the adults will read them aloud to them.