The case of the missing hippo by Laura James

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Ill. by Emily Fox. Fabio: The world's greatest flamingo detective series, book 1. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408889312
(Age: 6-9) Highly recommended. Themes: Detective story. Animal tale. This is a 'classic' detective story involving the great Flamingo Detective, Fabio. He is an intelligent flamingo, with a very tall giraffe co-worker (who is not quite as clever, but he is very tall!) and Fabio is exceptionally good at solving the problem of the missing hippo. Putting together the clues and bringing the case to a satisfactory conclusion (in a Hercule Poirot revelatory and flamboyant style), is detailed very simply for a young reader, but without underestimating their desire for a good story. This is an interesting mystery - it is after all fairly difficult to hide a hippo! Young readers will love the story, and animal characters add a touch of humour.
Illustrations are scattered through the pages, done in a simple, but amusing, cartoon style, and intensely vivid pink and green pages are also randomly included. This colour explosion adds a burst of interest for even the most reluctant reader.
Highly recommended for independent readers aged 6-9, and could still appeal to an older reluctant reader as they will recognise the subtle (or not so subtle) humour.
Carolyn Hull