Rickshaw to Horror – Robert Quackenbush

There are rickshaws…

And auto-rickshaws…

And then there are Rickshaws to Horror!

Who knew?  Robert Quackenbush, that’s who.

Rickshaw to Horror is a Miss Mallard mystery (as in: “Miss Mallard, the world-famous duck detective”).  Miss Mallard is in Hong Kong, minding her own business, when she meets a duck who seems to be able to predict disasters!  This miraculous duck saves a floating restaurant from floating away and predicts a terrible traffic jam.  Miss Mallard is both mystified…and suspicious.  How are these predictions made, and is there more here than meets the eye?  Thanks to Mr. Quackenbush’s organizational skills, the dévoilement isn’t until the last few pages, meaning that clever young readers have ample opportunity to piece together the clues and solve the mystery.

Quackenbush’s bright and bold illustrations, and clever dialogue (as in “Oh no,” quacked Miss Mallard”.  I think that’s clever, don’t you?) and his quirky sense of humour (Rickshaw to Horror, indeed) made me laugh in a  tickle-y sort of way.   At five lines and one full-page illustration per page, this book is very readable.  And the “you solve it” element reminds me of Miss Nelson is Missing, and has the same satisfying, “yes, I did solve it!” feeling.  I’m going to look up more of Quackenbush’s mystery tales and see if they have the same tone.

Reading Ages: JK to grade 1

Interesting observations: I kept looking at the Hong Kong ducks to see if they were in any way different (as in, more Asiatic) than Miss Mallard and the other guests at her hotel.  They weren’t.  They’re all just ducks, who happen to live in different parts of the world- which is very refreshing.

Best Miss Mallard Title Found:  It’s a close call between Mishap in Kaiserslautern (I love Germanic/Dutch words) and Surfboard to Peril (visual image of duck surfing).

Rating: B.  I didn’t love it, but it is a fun read.  And it did, after all, make me laugh.  Plus, the title is genius.

Notes from Readers:  We have had a request for more review for “younger” books.  We hear you loud and clear!  Keep your eyes peeled for more “grade 1 and under” recommendations and reviews.