Thursday, March 15, 2012

Module 9: The Top Secret Files of Mother Goose!

Citation: Gosling, G. (2004). The top secret files of Mother Goose. Milwaukee, WI: Gareth Stevens Publishing.

Summary: The Queen of Hearts has a problem and Detective Mother Goose is who she calls to help her.  Her strawberry tarts are missing and with some clues Detective Mother Goose begins her investigation to discover who the culprit is.  She questions various suspects: Mary Contrary, Little Miss Muffet, Bo Diddle and many more until she finally figures out who’s initialed HM hankie got left at the scene of the crime.

Impression: Peace and A Kid-Friendly Read!
I can’t say that I love this one, L sorry. But I will say that it is a peaceful and cute mystery that reminds you of many fairy tale characters and their traits. Of course more of that peaceful feeling comes on when you reach the end of the story and the mystery is solved. This kid-friendly read is sure to please when the guilt one is forced to write lines on a chalkboard stating “I will not steal the Queen’s tarts”.

Reviews: K-Gr 4-- When the Queen of Hearts discovers her strawberry tarts missing, she calls in Mother Goose, "Chief Detective of Nursery Rhyme Crime." The clues include a trail of crumbs, a dish and a spoon, and a hankie with the initials HM. As Mother Goose questions each suspect, a full-page illustration of that individual appears opposite the text, which is printed on a manila-folder background. A handwritten note with humorous details about that particular character appears to be paper clipped to the file. Readers may question the detective's technique as she chases down alleged perpetrators who do not have the correct initials. However, logic aside, the comical rewording of familiar facts will appeal to those who are conversant with nursery rhymes. The vibrant cartoons pop off the pages, and the witty details will have youngsters studying the pictures with interest. Serving as a foil for the boisterous cast of characters, Mother Goose appears almost too charming and sweet to be pitted against this wild and wacky lineup of possible criminals, but that only adds to the comedy. With its retro artwork and imitation of hard-boiled detective speech, this text-heavy mystery is more appropriate for older children, but the story and its solution may be a bit too simplistic to hold their attention. Fans of Jon Scieszka's humor seem the most likely audience for this book's campy art and puns.

Edwards, L., & Mandell, P. (2004). The top secret files of mother goose! (Book). School Library Journal, 50(5), 112.

The Top Secret Files of Mother Goose belongs with Jon Scieszka's The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs and Rosalind Alchin's The Frog Princess as another excellent example of the fractured fairy tale. As a bonus, this slim picture book also contains the features of an adult detective novel: a crime, a number of clues, numerous suspects with motives, and a sleuth who ultimately deduces the perpetrator's identity. The crime in question is the theft of the Queen of Hearts' breakfast tarts, and, because of his previous criminal record, suspicion immediately falls on the Knave of Hearts. To solve the theft, the Queen enlists the assistance of Mother Goose, Chief Detective of Nursery Rhyme Crime, who narrates the rest of the book. Mother Goose can immediately eliminate the Knave for he has a solid alibi; he's on holidays in Hawaii; however, the Knave suggests that "Mary Contrary might have some information." As Mother Goose follows up on each individual, that person either suggests yet someone else who may be connected to the crime or Mother Goose simply follows the trail of crumbs which leads to yet another suspect. In addition to the Knave and Mary Contrary, Mother Goose questions Miss Muffet, Bo Diddle, Little Boy Blue, Miss Bo Peep, Patrick "Patty Cake" Buttermore, Peter Peter and Humpty Dumpty before recognizing the true significance of one of the clues which points to the real culprit's identity. Banks even follows one of the "rules" of detective fiction by introducing the thief early in the story while disguising the person's means and motive. As the crime genre demands, the "criminal" is punished but, in this instance, in a manner with which kids will be able to identify.

Jenkinson, D. (2003). The top secret files of Mother Goose. CM: Canadian Review Of Materials, 10(2), N.PAG. 

Use in Library: -This book would be perfect to use as a read aloud to the upper elementary grades.  A mock mystery theater could be set up in the library where clues will have to be discovered and a path has to be followed to find a guilty party. Another suggestion would be to have a reader’s theater because of all the various fairy tale characters

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