Detective LaRue: Letters from the Investigation : Letters from the Investigation

by Mark Teague, Illustrated By Mark Teague

Scholastic Press
September 2004

Ages 5 – 8 . Grades Kindergarten – 3

Library of Congress: 2003020082

Lexile measure: AD950L

DRA: 30

Guided Reading: N



As if obedience school wasn't bad enough, Ike now finds himself in jail--wrongly accused (of course!) of terrorizing the Hibbins' cats & stealing their cat treats. Once again, he pleads his case to Mrs LaRue, who's vacationing in France, but to no avail. When a string of canary burglaries stalls the Snort City Police force's investigation--and reveals their crime-solving ineptitude--Ike flees custody and takes matters into his own paws. Expect more mad-cap comedy in Ike's daring escapades (real and imagined), as well as ingenious split-screen visuals from the incomparable Mark Teague.
Mark Teague

Mark Teague is the internationally bestselling illustrator (and author) of more than 50 books for children. His numerous awards and honors include the Book Sense Book of the Year Award and the Christopher Medal. He has illustrated 12 full-size books and 11 board books in the widely successful How Do Dinosaurs...? series. He is the author of the popular Dear Mrs. LaRue, Firehouse!, and Jack and the Beanstalk and the French Fries. He lives in New York State.


  • Kirkus
    Review Date: AUGUST 15, 2004
    The captivating canine from Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School (2002) returns for a second adventure revealed through Ike the dog's letters, this time written from jail. The dapper and dignified Ike has been detained as the prime suspect in the disappearance of two cats from his neighborhood. His plaintive letters to his vacationing owner proclaim his innocence and the cats' guilt as pet birds in the area begin to vanish. Newspaper stories are interwoven into the clever format, which also utilizes the device of one side of each spread in color showing what is really happening juxtaposed against a black-and-white illustration denoting Ike's melodramatic (and fictional) description of his unfair treatment as described in his letters. When Ike escapes from jail, he decides he must "take matters into my own paws." He helps the police capture the cats, followed by a police ceremony naming Ike an honorary detective. Teague's innovative approach to storytelling is fun, but educational as well, skillfully imparting some valuable lessons in point of view and reading between the lines. (Picture book. 5-8)

    October 15, 2004
    K-Gr. 3. In Teague's sequel to Dear Mrs. LaRue 0 (2002), a pair of cats hungry for canary flesh have escaped their apartment and left Ike holding the bag--a bag of incriminating cat treats. "Apparently it is easier for some people to blame a dog than to solve a crime," sniffs the offended Ike in a letter to his vacationing owner. As in the first book, children can tease apart truth from exaggeration by interpolating among the letters, the color scenes of reality, and Ike's gumshoe fantasies, cleverly rendered in black and white. It turns out that the "daring escape" from police custody is really a casual leave-taking ("I'm sure he'll come back when he gets hungry," says the officer in charge); his nighttime investigations are conducted from the comfort of a posh hotel room. The noir-inspired premise drifts farther from doggy reality than the first book's, but children will get a thrill out of piecing together the mystery alongside the wily, self-serving, yet eminently lovable Ike. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2004 Booklist

    School Library Journal
    October 1, 2004
    K-Gr 3-As in Dear Mrs. LaRue (Scholastic, 2002), "local dog" Ike LaRue tells his story through a series of misleading letters to his owner. When two neighborhood cats disappear, the pup winds up a jailed suspect. A black-and-white illustration depicts his pitiful plight as he would like Mrs. LaRue to imagine it-sadly blowing on a harmonica in jail. The real situation, in which he shares doughnuts and coffee with a friendly police officer, is revealed in a color illustration on the same spread. This type of juxtaposition continues as Ike slips out to track down the cats on his own. Pictures reveal that the tireless legwork he describes to his owner is actually time spent relaxing in a luxury hotel. Despite his life of ease, the pooch finally does find the missing felines, and he becomes a hero. The contrast between the melodrama of Ike's imagined world and the comfort of his true experiences should elicit many smiles. The placement of the color and black-and-white scenes varies with each spread, which helps prevent the pictorial construct from being predictable or repetitive. Teague's visual characterizations of animals and people are also a treat. Ike displays a variety of emotions and attitudes, often subtly conveyed by posture, facial expression, or even just the tilt of an eyebrow. The cat-bashing references in the dog's letters add another touch of humor to this satisfying epistolary tale.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

    Publishers Weekly
    July 19, 2004
    Last seen heroically saving his owner, Mrs. LaRue, obedience s



Jacketed Hardcover / Smyth

ISBN: 9780439458689

32pp. | 9 x 12