I had high hopes for Hound the Detective by author Kimberly Andrews. As one of the judges of the NZ Booklovers Awards, I had the great pleasure of crowning her first book, Puffin The Architect, the winner of the Children’s category for 2019.
Andrews’ second book, Hound the Detective, while being just as richly illustrated as the first, overall lacks the pizzazz of Puffin the Architect. They are different books of course, so it’s slightly unfair to judge them against each other, but in particular I found the language in Hound The Detective (‘The General Store’, ‘The Manor House”) alienating for a New Zealand audience. Puffin the Architect was not set here either, but it was carried by the magical realism (focused more on the interior of animals’ imaged houses) and the humour in the story, whereas Hound the Detective in language and landscape is so very English. And the plot of the story – a Beagle must solve the clues to find his own surprise birthday party – while a sweet enough premise, is not executed with any real twist.
My test readers – 6 and 7 – enjoyed the pictures, which are vivid and packed with details, but were not nearly as keen on the story as they were on Puffin the Architect, still a firm favourite. Perhaps the book is more suited for a younger audience, who will no doubt enjoy the rich illustrative story packed into each page.
Reviewed by Heidi North
Picture Puffin, RRP $19.99