Sleuth & Solve History

Sleuth & Solve History
Victor Escandell and Ana Gallo
Chronicle Books

This new assemblage of detective fun enigmas from Victor Escandell (illustrator) and Ana Gallo (author) all have a historical theme.

The brain-bewildering mysteries begin way back in prehistoric Stone Age times with a meal-stealing episode and end with a contemporary conundrum relating to an astronaut who locked herself out of her computer.

Before the sleuthing starts, there are spreads setting out such things as how to go about finding solutions; ways to play (solo, as a family or in teams) and a table of contents in timeline form.

Then the real puzzling begins with an introductory scene setting paragraph, cartoon style visuals, captions and speech bubbles for each mini mystery; and across the top left-hand page of each one is a rating for difficulty, a categorisation of how to solve it (by using logic or imagination), and the number of points for finding the answer (no cheating by peeping under the flap at the outset).

Puzzlers can test their skills in the Mesolithic era; the Babylonian Empire; in Ancient Egypt; among the Ancient Greeks, the Celts (two double spreads needed for this one); with a Syracuse king who called on Archimedes to assist him;

they can try catching a jewel thief during the French revolution; emulate young Thomas Edison, or Sherlock Holmes even.

Just right for youngsters aspiring to become the next Poirot or Precious Ramoswe. Hone up those ‘little grey cells’ and off you go.

Terrific screen-free fun aplenty guaranteed.

Pets and Their Famous Humans

Pets and Their Famous Humans
Ana Gallo and Katherine Quinn

All kinds of people keep pets. Now here’s a rather quirky book that will appeal to pet lovers and those with an interest in famous people especially.

Author, Ana Gallo, introduces us to the pets of 20 artists, authors, scientists and the odd fashion designer.

Some were the conventional kind of pets such as cats and dogs.
Virginia Woolf for instance was a dog lover, her most famous pooch being her pedigree cocker spaniel, Pinka, given to her by fellow author, Vita Sackville West. Pinka even played a significant part in one of Virginia’s books.

Another dog lover was Sigmund Freud about whom we learn a fair amount alongside finding out about his helper in his treatment room for seven years, red coated chow chow, Jofi.

Other pets were rather more unlikely. Take the two crocodiles that Dorothy Parker kept in her bath; or Grip the talking raven owned by Charles Dickens. Thanks to his sons Grip became a leading character in Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge, the bird was also the inspiration for Edgar Allen Poe’s poem The Raven.

Did you know that one of artist Frida Kahlo’s most loved pets was her fawn Granizo that appeared in two of her most famous paintings, once as a little fawn and then six years later as a fully grown animal in The Wounded Deer.

Each entry has a full page illustration of pet and owner by Katherine Quinn, opposite which is a page of biographic information headed by a small picture of the relevant pet or pets.

A fascinating and novel way of bringing the humans to life for primary age readers.