The blue-footed Booby by Bob Biddulp

cover image

With a jaunty rhyming sequence, the story of the disappearing frangipani tart unfolds. Desmond the red-footed booby, like all of his clan is a dab hand in the kitchen. When his tart, sitting near the window disappears he sets out to find the culprit. He spies blue footprints in the snow outside his house, and follows them. He passes other booby houses, and see Maureen with her specialty, doughnuts, and Rod with his black forest gateau, but has has no time to stop, he must follow the footprints. ‘Let’s follow the footprint’ is the start of each line on the facing pages, with a small change in the rhyming word to add surprise and intrigue. Readers will be tantalised by the repetition and rhymes that reflect Desmond’s quest.

Eventually ten boobies follow the red footprints in the snow and get to a house with a blue door. The blue-footed booby inside denies stealing the tart, after all he is a greens man, but crumbs in the snow beg to be followed and off they go again. Retracing their steps, the ten boobies find that everyone’s baking has gone. The Swiss Roll and cupcakes, Maureen’s doughnuts, Rod’s gateau are nowhere to be seen.

Just then, Des hears a munching sound in the woods and finds Barbara, rather shamefaced and vey full. She is the culprit with her red feet like theirs, but a tin of blue paint has helped her trick them all.

A twist at the end of this smart verse story will make readers laugh out loud at the cunning of the blue-footed booby.

This wonderful book with its facing pages of large print following the clues, will be a hit with younger readers, following the exploits of the red-footed booby clan in trying to solve the clues of who did the deed. A puzzle is there to be solved, a new bird to be researched and discussed, tempting types of cakes to be thought about, and wonderful rhymes and repetition to be read out loud. Words will be predicted, practised and mulled over, illustrations gasped at, and attempts to draw a booby of their own will pass the time.

Themes: Crime, Detection, Clues, Booby, Cakes, Humour.

Fran Knight