By: Kathleen Lane
Illustrated by: Sarah Horne
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: April 2009
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: March 1, 2010
Grandmothers are supposed to be boring old ladies who sit around all day, drinking prune juice and reading books like The Joy of Napping. But not Nana. Nana wants to be a detective, and she has all the wigs she’ll ever need to disguise herself when she goes undercover.
Nana Cracks the Case! is the amusing story of a beloved grandma who would rather be out chasing bandits than sitting at home watching tv. Along with her two mischievous grandchildren, Eufala and Bog, she attempts to solve the case of the missing ‘Yumdums’ (a very yummy candy).
This early chapter book is a goofy takeoff on crime books, featuring a determined, and lovable, granny as the detective. The narration is lighthearted, “That’s exactly what Nana needed to do if she was going to be the next selected detected – no, that’s not what she wanted to say. The next selective detective. Oh tangles, that wasn’t it either. Well, never mind, the important thing was to get there on time,” that will surely keep many young readers laughing. While the misbehaving kids may not endear themselves to many parents (they disobey their mother by sneaking out of the house after getting strict orders not to leave and cause trouble in the park and get taken to police headquarters) their raucous manners will likely appeal to many children.
The whimsical black and white drawings are stylized and cartoon-like, similar in style to Quentin Blake. The zany pictures are likely to draw young readers into the story. For reluctant readers, there is an abundance of drawings to help keep the pages turning.
Quill says: This quirky, silly who-dun-it for the early chapter book reader will draw smirks and giggles from its young readers.