I just ran across a copy of Piggins by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jane Dyer, and it looking like a fun, quick read, I took a break and read it. And found it a fun, quick read. But...
This is a send-up of classic detective fiction, front to finish. Poe, Conan Doyle, Christie, etc. -- nobody gets a pass, as far as I can see. Conventions are skewered, stereotypes are trotted out for a giggle.
So, I've read a fair number of mystery stories, and I watched Upstairs, Downstairs on television. I understand what this book is poking fun at, or at least some of what this book is poking fun at. (I concede I might have missed an inside joke or two.) But I have to wonder what a kid would think of the book? There's plenty of room to read it with a great deal of drama, so I think it could be a fun read-aloud book. And there is a puzzle -- a crime -- to be solved, told in such a way that even a moderately young child stands a chance of seeing the ending coming. But I can't shake the idea that this book might be more fun for the grown-up detective fiction fan doing the reading than for the child hearing it. (Boy: Why are you laughing, Mommy? Mother: You'll understand after you read about five Sherlock Holmes books, my son, and two or three with Hercule Poirot...)
At any rate, I don't know what I expected, but what I found was a fairly cute send-up of detective fiction. For what it's worth.
My copy has a 1987 copyright. I see that the edition for sale new at Barnes & Noble has a 1992 publication date. The cover looks the same, so I'm guessing it's just a later press run.
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