Isabelle and the Crooks

Isabelle and the Crooks
Michelle Robinson and Chris Mould
Walker Books

Young Isabelle Crook is something of a misfit in her family of ‘ordinary crooks’. Unlike her sneaky dad, stealthy mum, cunning grandparents or little brother, Isabelle is a law-abiding citizen. In one week she turns down opportunities to participate in a bank robbery, a toy shop burglary, a spot of breaking and entering with her Grandpa and Grandma; she eschews the chance of some super exciting stealing with her parents and on Friday when the entire family set out to the tower to steal the crown jewels, she firmly refuses to accompany them.

On Saturday it’s a rest day and an early night at the Crooks’ residence but Isabelle lies awake worrying about how the Queen might be feeling. So, she embarks on a mission to return those crown jewels to their rightful owner. However, despite using her innate skills to enter the tower, as she’s in the process of replacing the stolen loot Isabelle is apprehended.

Rather than have her entire family imprisoned, the girl spends a night in jail

giving the rest of a family quite a shock next morning when they wake and find her (and much more) missing.

Perhaps now Isabelle might consider breaking her own good behaviour rules just once and if so, even persuade them to emulate the Ahlberg’s Burglar Bill and put it all back.

Michelle’s cleverly constructed narrative coupled with Chris Mould’s outrageously brilliant gothic style illustrations make this a delectably droll, altogether unmissable picture book.

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