Homer on the CaseFeatured
Homing pigeon Homer and his parrot friend Lulu learn something is afoul when they witness four-legged criminals stealing valuables from both the animal and human communities. Using the sleuthing techniques he’s gathered from his favorite mystery comics, Homer and Lulu track down the bandits, but need human help to stop them for good. Can they find a way to communicate with their human keepers and lead them to the culprits’ hideout to stop the thieves?
Award-winning author and illustrator Henry Cole delivers a fun, action-packed middle grade novel that will keep readers turning the page to find out if the crime-solving pigeon will get his guy. A supporting cast of animal and human characters forms a community that will have every reader wishing they could join in the hunt.
The mystery is one that is easier for the animals to solve, since they are able to observe the world from a different vantage point than humans. It's fun to see how Homer and Lulu try to communicate with their humans through newspaper clippings and the squawking of seemingly random words! The perpetrator something of a shock, and young readers should be warned against climbing into sewers, no matter how important their quest.
Cole's pencil illustrations are the real draw here, and will appeal to fans of Garth Williams' or Brian Selznick's illustrative style. Sadly, there are no mice, like in A Nest for Celeste; I have a soft spot for pictures of mice, and some certainly could have been worked into the park scenes!
This reminded me a bit of Eve Titus' Basil of Baker Street, one of my favorites from my childhood, and joins the ranks of books with animal detectives, such as Hale's Chet Gecko mysteries, Gardner's Horace and Bunwinkle and Quinn's Birdie and Bowser or Queenie and Arthur books.
What I loved: This was a fast-paced read with a mystery that keeps the plot moving quickly. The main characters are absolutely as fun as you would expect from two birds leading the charge, and I enjoyed the writing style that felt akin to a Sherlock Holmes/detective novel. The crimes are great for the middle grade audience, and the animals throughout add to the fun. This book is full of charm.
Each chapter also includes illustrations in black and white that help to bring the story to life and enhance the experience for young readers. This book is well suited for even young middle grade/chapter book readers with a compelling plot and delightful characters. It would also work well as a bedtime book to be read over a few nights.
Final verdict: HOMER ON THE CASE is a charming middle grade detective read with fun characters, great illustrations, and a fast-paced plot. Recommend for mystery and animal lovers.