Author: Douglas Quinn
Illustrator: Donna Higgins Colson
Publisher: White Heron Press
ISBN: 978-1492942405

What’s so hard to understand, beagle? Last night we had a dozen eggs. This morning we don’t have any. Someone took them all.” Red explains to Gracie in Douglas Quinn’s children’s book, Gracie the Undercover Beagle and Her Sidekick Boston Blackie – The Egg Thief.

First in the “Little Book for Little Readers” series, this sixty page small paperback book targets readers ages four to six years old. With no scary scenes but some complicated words to pronounce, the seven-chapter story may best be read out loud to beginner readers. Throughout the pages are a limited number of small pencil drawings by illustrator Colson along with ten word descriptions at the back of the book.

In this short, cute tome, Gracie the Undercover Beagle has been aroused from her sleep by her sidekick, Boston Blackie the cat, since there are no eggs to make a delicious breakfast.

According to Red the Rooster, all twelve eggs were stolen out of the hen house the night before, challenging Gracie to look for the culprit. Since Henny Penny witnessed the theft, she tells the beagle that the animal had a head like a fox but not a body like one.

After talking to Thomas Gray, an old cat, along with Humberto, a Spanish-speaking rabbit, Gracie and Blackie visit a hummingbird named Edwina, who leads them to the Oracle of the Forest, a wise dog who tells them it was “a stranger whose face is not real.”

Confused, the two return home, only to wake up early the next morning and learn more eggs are missing. The next night Gracie devises a plan to wait for the crook to sneak into the hen house and catch the critter red handed.

Learning who has taken the eggs, Gracie holds court with the other animals and convicts the egg thief of stealing, implementing a guilty verdict of cleaning the hen house. Because Gracie believes in second chances, she allows the bandit two needed meals a day plus someplace to stay.

Teaching responsibility for wrong actions and forgiveness, the tale is a quick read that young children will enjoy, while learning the explanation of more complicated words. This is a new mini-book series that not only encourages good reading skills; it instills morals including being nice to others.

Thanks to White Heron Press for furnishing this book in exchange for a review of the reader’s honest opinion.

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