Jane Yolen

Book - 1987

During a dinner party, the lights go out and Mrs. Reynard's beautiful diamond necklace is stolen, but Piggins the butler quickly discovers the real thief.

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Picture books
New York : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich c1987.
Physical Description
unpaged ill
Main Author
Jane Yolen (-)
Other Authors
Jane Dyer (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Review

Ages 5-8. Readers will know they are in for some fun the moment they see the supercilious pig dressed as a butler who adorns the dust jacket. Set in the Edwardian household of Mr. and Mrs. Reynard, two foxes, this mysterious romp takes place on the night of an elegant dinner party. Among the guests are Professor T. Ortoise, explorer Pierre Lapin, and Lord and Lady Ratsby. The Reynards are thinking of selling a diamond lavalier that they believe is cursed, but when the lights go off during dinner, it is stolen. It's up to butler Piggins to figure out who is the thief. Dyer has captured the upstairs-downstairs atmosphere of Edwardian life in her highly detailed pictures. Some of her colors (the greens, for example) are a bit harsh, but other aspects of the artwork showing the whole house in dollhouse style capture attention in full-page pictures that are as amusing as they are individual. Yolen and Dyer make a good team. Here's to more Piggins mysteries. IC. Mystery and detective stories / Pigs Fiction [CIP] 86-22915

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Whimsy abounds in this tale of a porcine butler who solves crimes in his off hours. Ages 4-8. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-3 A sophisticated English mystery parody for the primary set. The Reynards throw a dinner party to show off Mrs. Reynard's new diamond lavaliere and to explain why they must sell it. As Mr. Reynard is relating the story of the necklace's curse, the lights go off; when they are restored, the necklace is gone. All the dinner guests are stumped, but Piggins, the very proper butler, explains to all how it was done and who did the evil deed. Yolen utlizes word play in the namesProfessor T. Ortoise is an elderly turtle. Her plot is clever, but with enough obvious clues for first or second graders to solve the mystery on their own. Some of Yolen's understated humor may not be appreciated by children, but an adult reader will enjoy sharing this book with children. The color pencil and watercolor illustrations complement the text in every way. Each textual detail is meticulously expressed in the pictures. The animal characters have human expression while still remaining true to their animal naturesthe rats, of course, are the thieves. The Edwardian details in decor and costuming are fun to examine and yet do not interfere with the action or visual flow of the illustrations. One of a kindand sure to provide a great deal of fun for many readers and listeners. Karen K. Radtke, Milwaukee Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

In a picture-book mystery for young readers, Yolen pays homage to the world of Upstairs, Downstairs, to Beatrix Potter's animal/human characters, and to not only Agatha Christie but Conan Doyle. The servants' preparations are complete; the Reynards are ready to receive. Piggins the butler announces Inspector Bayswater (a hound), his friend Professor T. Ortoise, Lord and Lady Ratsby, and elderly explorer Pierre Lapin with his three unmarried sisters. In the midst of dinner, the lights go off; in the confusion, Mrs. Reynard's diamond necklace disappears. Bayswater is stumped, but the alert Piggins assembles several clues and pinpoints the Ratsbys as culprits; the Misses Lapin foil a getaway attempt; then Piggins oversees the washing up and concludes the evening with a pot of tea. Yolen's staccato style gives this the air of a satirical synopsis; the events are barely mysterious, but they're humorous and fun. Dyer's carefully detailed interiors have the charm of a period dollhouse; her animal characters have a comic individuality. There aren't many mysteries available on this level; this one should serve nicely. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.