In an attempt to get my daughter to practice her writing skills and get through my book review stacks, I decided to have her try her hand at reviewing a book. My middle schooler reads constantly, and probably gets through more of my review books than I do–but so far eliciting an opinion from her usually results in “Oh, it was good. I liked it.” or “Nah. I didn’t like it.”
But we’re practicing. I asked her to choose one of the books she’d read that she actually enjoyed, and she picked Fowl Play by Travis Nichols. We’d seen Nichols’ art before–he also illustrated the Monster Doodle Book several years ago, so his style looked familiar.
Anyway, Fowl Play is a picture book all about idioms that we’ve enjoyed recently. Here’s my daughter’s take on it.
In a pickle? Call Gumshoe Zoo and they will straighten it out in a jiffy.
The most brilliant detective agency, Gumshoe Zoo, is on the case of Mr. Hound the grocer’s broken window. Who broke it? How? Why? There is definitely some monkey business going on here. Follow the clues throughout this fantastic book and see if you can figure out the answers to all of these questions.
Fowl Play is filled with idioms from the very first sentence, “Looks like another dull as dishwater day.”
Even the pictures show idioms. When Quentin the goat sends out the call to all the detectives, I like to pick out all the idioms from the pictures. Bull in a china shop, fish out of water, monkey in a barrel, rat race, the list goes on and on. When they get to the crime scene, the clever detective animals quickly figure out that there is something fishy going on, and as they inspect further, bigger and bigger clues are revealed.
All the idioms used in the book are explained in the back of the book, which is really good if you are a parent trying to explain idioms to your child. They look something like this:
sitting duck: someone who is vulnerable to attack
There is also the definition of an idiom on the same page. Just looking at this page and going back through the book to see if you can find all the idioms is fun in itself.
The illustrations are really cute, and my 2-year-old sister likes to point them out. Duck, monkey, horse… This is an amazing book for all ages, and I hope you like it.
What my daughter didn’t mention was that as the animal detective team investigates, each detective makes a comment that’s an idiom about another animal. “Oh! No offense, Reggie.” It’s having fun with idioms and poking a little fun at our fear of offending anyone at the same time.
Fowl Play was released today from Chronicle Books.
Disclosure: We received a review copy of this book.