Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Usual Suspects: Who Stole the Hazelnuts!: A Forest Mystery by Marcus Pfister

All was quiet and all was still.
Until there came a scream so shrill.
The voice shrieked, "This is what I feared!
My hazelnuts have disappeared!"

Squirrel is freaking out. Someone has filched his nuts!

He's certain one of his forest friends must have swiped the cache, so he questions each one--Mole, Mouse, Bunny, and Hamster--but all decline to cop a plea.
"I know for a fact it isn't ME!"

Fox, however, takes a different denial defense. He's no vegan, he laughs.
"Me? Steal nuts? Don't be daft!
Chickens I'd steal. Lovely to chew.
Stay around, and I'll chew you, too!

Whoa! Squirrel makes himself scarce after that warning. Sadly he returns to his tree, without his precious hazelnuts and distinctly rumbly in the tumbly. But what does he see right under his tree?

What he sees there makes Squirrel quite sheepish, and he has to confess! He's the one who caused all this distress!

He's one repentant rodent, in Marcus Pfister's tale of the missing trove of nuts, Who Stole the Hazelnuts? (NorthSouth Books, 2019). Pfister's false accusation story is a good cautionary tale for youngsters who can be too quick to accuse others, and the noted author-illustrator's delicious rhymes and gorgeous illustrations make this a memorable seasonal mystery. Pfister's artwork, known for lush watercolor illustrations as in his top-selling The Rainbow Fish series (see reviews here), make this one an elegant entry into the autumn stories lineup, and David Henry Wilson's skillful English revision from the original German loses nothing in the translation. Recommended for all primary seasonal collections.

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