Allen & Unwin, 2020-2022
320+ pages, pbk., RRP $A16.99
GREETINGS. AM LOOKING FOR A MAJOR CRIME TO SOLVE. PLEASE INFORM ME OF ANY RECENT MURDERS, KIDNAPPINGS OR JEWEL HEISTS IN THIS AREA.’
A scruffy chook, literally henpecked by the other hens, Clara has become addicted to the detective shows she sees on the humans’ television and now she wants to be a famous detective like her hero Amelia X with her own TV show. She can read claw marks, find missing feathers and knows Morse code and semaphore, but being small and scruffy chook no one takes her seriously. But when she teams up with Olive, the daughter of the local policeman, they might just be able to solve the crimes that have been troubling the town of Little Dismal.
And having solved the crime and prevented the theft of some sheep, but in the process having made the ducks look less than the courageous creatures they perceive themselves to be, the ducks are ticked off and are seeking revenge. They decide they are going to make Clara’s life a misery but brave as they profess to be, none is willing to lead the charge. Until Rita, in disgrace for offering poetry at the recent Talent Night, volunteers in an effort to seek redemption. But But Rita finds more than revenge on her mission. She uncovers a dastardly plan to chook-nap the clever chicken that will take them both a long way from home. But her unlikely friendship with a small human and the help of some street-smart birds just might save the day and inspire an epic poem!
This is a LOL duo for the newly independent reader who likes something completely wacky and entertaining, written in an easy-to-read unique diary format with plenty of other textual supports while being thick enough to impress peers! Both see the human world through a different lens offering interesting insights as well as hilarious observations and misinterpretations, but more than that, they validate the importance of being yourself regardless if that is a little different to the norm and the expectation of others. Young readers who see themselves as being a little outside whatever is currently accepted amongst their peers will delight in seeing both Clara and Rita rise above the pack (flock?) to triumph.