Raining Cats and Detectives
Written by Colleen A.F. Venable
Illustrated by Stephanie Yue
What a fun mystery with an unexpected detective: a guinea pig named Sasspants. It all begins in the pet shop. The animals all wonder what their futures will be if they are sold. Sasspants’s friend, Hamisher the hamster, decides the two of them must go to the same owner so they can continue their detecting. Then pizza enters the picture. The cat from the bookstore next door comes up missing and Sasspants and Hamisher are separated. Even with two sets of clues, all roads lead to pizza. Sasspants and Hamisher conclude that the cat climbed in the pizza carrier. They solve the crime, each in his or her own way, to find the cat and get him back home.
A colorful graphic novel filled with quirky, interesting characters. It has an easy reading level, which will appeal to second graders because of its snappy dialogue, sophisticated humor and current cultural references. There is a fact section at the end about cats, tying in with the story’s “victim.” A list of characters would make a good reading worksheet allowing students to come up with words to describe each character to strengthen their character analysis skills. This is a part of a series of graphic novels so students can build their skills through comparing and contrasting other titles in the series. There are activities on the author’s website: (http://www.colleenaf.com/bookscomics/activities/).