The book I’m reviewing today is a hilarious illustrated middle-grade book from award-winning Spanish author Pedro Mañas and illustrator David Sierra Listón: Cuentos Criminales (Editorial Libre Albedrío). I’ve spent the last year or so working with this book for my MA Dissertation and I have to say, it’s a great book!
The premise for the book is a detective-turned-writer who shares with the reader all the gory details about the cases he has worked on throughout his career as a detective. But this is no serious crime writing; this will elicit belly laughs at the ridiculous situations the detective finds himself in as well as the puns and witty wordplay woven in by Mañas.
The cases take place in cities both around the world and in imaginary places. Some cases are based in reality, adding a twist, for example, to the real-life scam where a man sold the Eiffel Tower for scrap metal. A later case involves Sherlock Holmes in London. There is a real sense of adventure and fun.
The illustrations and layout of the book also really draw the reader in. The text is occasionally written as if in a notebook, at jaunty angles on the page. The colourful pictures throughout the 252 page book are a real bonus and something that isn’t often seen for this age group – full-colour images have often been replaced by black and white line drawings by this stage.
All in all it’s a fantastic book that will keep your children giggling!
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