The case of the strange splash

Henry Winkler, 1945-

Book - 2023

Willow Feathers McBeaver, aka Detective Duck, and her pond animal pals investigate puzzling mysteries caused by human disruptions to their habitat.

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Subjects
Genres
Children's stories
Animal fiction
Detective and mystery fiction
Published
New York : Amulet Books [2023]
Language
English
Main Author
Henry Winkler, 1945- (author)
Other Authors
Lin Oliver (author), Dan Santat (illustrator)
Item Description
Cover title.
Physical Description
67 pages : color illustrations ; 22 cm
Audience
Ages 6 to 9.
ISBN
9781419755132
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Willow Feathers may be a little duckling, but she has big aspirations--namely, to become a detective. Her dream and curiosity are both supported by her loving father, Beaver McBeaver, who adopted the girl when she washed onto his dam as an egg. In her inaugural adventure, an unidentified flying object sails by Willow and lands in Dogwood Pond. What could the big circular thing be? She gathers her friends to get to the bottom of the mystery. Winkler and Oliver are old pros at writing fun and funny stories for kids, and they enter the early chapter-book space with ease. Thanks to Santat's wonderful full-color illustrations, readers will know from the start what the UFO really is and get a good laugh over Willow's salamander friend Sal's conviction that they're dealing with aliens. Once the truth is uncovered, the fast-paced story shifts to spotlight a rescue mission with teamwork and environmental messaging at its heart. The new Detective Duck series will go over swimmingly with young readers.

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

Willow Feathers, a duck raised by a beaver, "loved to use her smart duck brain to solve problems" and believes that her curiosity will help her become a great detective. Her big chance comes in the form of a possible ecological disaster: a huge tire comes crashing into Dogwood Pond, which Santat (A First Time for Everything) renders in the style of the science fiction comics beloved by Willow's salamander BFF Sal. "Don't those humans care about how their trash harms our beautiful wilderness?" grumbles Harry the catfish. Willow deduces that the tire has been discarded from a human's truck, then organizes Harry, her father, Aaron the heron, and Sal into a thrilling tire-removal operation, followed by a recycling lesson for the guilty human, portrayed with pale skin. Santat draws the quirky cast and their Leslie Knope--like leader with with oodles of affectionate exaggeration, and frequent collaborators Winkler and Oliver (Alien Superstar) give them lots of dad-joke--style dialogue ("Being ticklish is all in your mind," Willow tells Aaron. "No it isn't," Aaron responds. "It's under my wings"). With its promising, environmentally themed storytelling, this series starter is just ducky. Ages 6--9. (Oct.)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

In this latest from actor and author Winkler and author Oliver, a little duck makes a big impact. A lucky adoption has given Willow the duck a beaver dad, who encourages her to pursue her dream of being a detective. When a large saucer-shaped object crash-lands in their pond, Willow's pal Sal, a comic-book-loving salamander; Harry, a depressed catfish; and Flitter, a dragonfly with a can-do attitude, jump to the conclusion that it's an invading spaceship. Further investigation reveals a fiery red dragon and more spacecraft, throwing everyone into a panic. Only Willow asks the right questions, leading to the realization that the object is a stray tire from a truck. The plot now turns on an environmental issue: how to get rid of the floating tire, which is now interfering with pond life. So the friends form the Pond Squad and, with help from Willow's dad and Aaron the heron, take on the tire. A subplot sees Willow attempting to shoo off Snout, a thieving, conniving weasel, by pelting him with a rubber band and a ball; dealing with Snout looks like a job for the second book. Every chapter ends with a cliffhanger, the pacing and characterization are engaging, and the message about treating the environment with respect is a sound one. Santat provides intense, googly-eyed animals at eye level, and Willow pops in bright yellow. Mystery-loving readers will quickly detect the advent of a promising series. (Chapter book. 6-9) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.