Book Review | Children’s Lit arrives on #JLASblog: “The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake: A Wilcox and Griswold Mystery” by Robin Newman with illustrations by Deborah Zemke An early reader gem to engage your child into the joy of sleuthing!

Posted Thursday, 25 June, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to review “The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake” by JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm. JKS is the first publicity firm I started working with when I launched Jorie Loves A Story in August, 2013. I am honoured to continue to work with them now as a 2nd Year Book Blogger. I received my complimentary copy of The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake direct from JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Happily supporting Children’s Lit:

One of the best blessings in 2015 is being able to bring a spotlight on Children’s Literature a bit more than I could originally as a 1st Year Book Blogger. I have been actively seeking out opportunities to review Children’s Lit, inasmuch as I have quite a heap of selections I want to pursue through my local library as next reads which I hope will potentially become future showcases on my blog.

I love being able to draw a circle of joy around the writers who are truly underwriting a lot of innocence and light into their literary ideas for children; because not all stories need to be rooted in realism, as I still believe that even in the world of Children’s Lit, sometimes the undertone can run too dark. It’s been awhile since I could scout out Early Reader | Chapter Books at a local book shoppe, so imagine my happy joy in finding the Wilcox and Griswold Mysteries!? They appear to be the perfect starter for a budding mystery lover and a great opening door for a Mum (such as I will be) who wants to help encourage her (future) children in a direction to intersect with one of her most beloved sections of literature!

Mysteries are wicked awesome because they get you thinking outside the box and they give you a measure of mirth towards understanding different points of view. I happen to appreciate illustrators and writers who stitch in a happy thread of childhood wonderment and joy into their stories, and it’s a pleasure to be honoured with showcasing Creston Books as an Indie Publisher of Children’s Literature! They are definitely a publisher to keep an eye on for new releases and I cannot wait until August, when I will be giving my impressions on behalf of one of their picture books: In a Village by the Sea by Muon Van and April Chu!

Equally impressive is one of their Autumn new releases: Ada Bryon Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark with illustrations by April Chu! A step back into the footfalls of history where science and mathematics were constantly being elevated by new discoveries, this is a story set against the backdrop of Lord Bryon (as Ada has a famous Da!) whilst on the verge of computer technology being coded for the first time!

I came across the author behind How to Be Human (as Florida Frenz is her pen name) quite by accident, as I was following a thread of convo on Twitter. Coincidentally, shortly thereafter I was offered to review The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake and knew quite instinctively I was meant to find this Indie Publisher! At some point I am going to see if I can ILL a copy of How to Be Human but the best part is that the front list and back list of this Indie is beaming strongly crafted stories into the lives of young readers! A mission I will always be happy to champion and support!

Book Review | Children’s Lit arrives on #JLASblog: “The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake: A Wilcox and Griswold Mystery” by Robin Newman with illustrations by Deborah Zemke An early reader gem to engage your child into the joy of sleuthing!The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake
by Robin Newman
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Deborah Zemke
Source: Publicist via JKS Communications

Captain Griswold and Detective Wilcox are two hardboiled police mice and MFIs—Missing Food Investigators. When Miss Rabbit’s carrot cake goes missing the day before her big party, Griswold and Wilcox must investigate a farm full of fun, colorful suspects—and it will take smarts (and a delicious dose of humor) to crack the case.

An easy-to-read mystery with plenty of clues to point readers in the right direction, the book includes the recipe for Miss Rabbit’s tasty carrot cake from bestselling cookbook author, Mollie Katzen, and comes with a downloadable curriculum guide available for classroom use which teaches problem solving, logic skills, and storytelling.

Children will love this funny, friendly twist on classic mystery and detective stories as they follow the clues through pages filled with engaging illustrations and an entertaining, interactive story.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Also by this author: Author Guest Post by Robin Newman

Series: Wilcox and Griswold Mysteries,


Genres: Children's Literature, Early Reader Stories, Illustrated Stories, Foodie Fiction, Cosy Mystery


Published by Creston Books LLC

on 12th May, 2015

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 40

Genre(s): Early Reader | Cosy Mystery | Foodie Fiction

Illustrated Stories | Imagination Friendly

Wilcox & Griswold No. 2 due out Autumn 2016: The Case of the Poached Egg

Published By: Creston Books, LLC (@CrestonBooks)

Available Formats: Hardback

Converse via Twitter: #WilcoxAndGriswoldMysteries, #earlyreader, #KidsLit and #JKSLitPublicity

About (Illustrator) Deborah Zemke

Deborah Zemke puts words and pictures together in unexpected and lively ways. The author and illustrator of more than twenty children’s books and a frequent contributor to Ranger Rick magazine, her most recent book with Creston is Cock-a-Doodle-Oops!, a farm caper.

About Robin Newman

Robin Newman

Raised in New York and Paris, Robin Newman has been a practicing attorney and legal editor, but she prefers to write about witches, mice, pigs, and peacocks. She lives in New York with her husband, son, goldfish, and English Cocker Spaniel, who happens to have been born on the Fourth of July.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

On the aesthetics of Wilcox and Griswold:

As soon as I pulled this book free from the bubbler, I realised I had stumbled across an extra special Early Reader! The entire cover-art and inside aesthetic of this lovely interactive and colourful story leaps out at you to be read — the motif of cheese and crinkled paper are on the cover, with a port window display of the cheeky mouse detectives stock still and gainfully drawing your eye to know this is their case file on a recently resolved mystery! Even a ‘stamp of found’ is tucked into the left side of the cover, and as soon as you flip open the book itself, your greeted by more artwork and flair! As you pull it open, your ‘opening a manilla folder’, reading the ‘document’ as if you were reading one in real life! The left side has a clever way of containing the necessary bits all books most disclose (i.e. rights, copyrights, etc) and on the opposite page you find the title with a file lable of Cake, Carrot on the folder itself! Now that’s wicked awesome continuity for young readers or adults who are reading for the first time or picking up English as a second language. I would definitely see a lot of joy on an adult reader inasmuch as a child!

When I saw the mouse detective pensively walking on the very next page, a part of my memory clicked together and that one iconic movement of character reminded me of my youth watching PBS tv series (such as Pinwheel, Captain Kangaroo, Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers Neighbourhood, etc) — somewhere in my televised journey I remember this classic mark of a sleuth! It could have been outside of PBS as I watched a hearty amount of anime (cartoons), but whichever reason this felt intrinsically ‘right’ was a nice addition to this book!

My Review of The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake:

The opening sequence is priceless truly, if you grew up watching Perry Mason and Dragnet; as there is a ‘classic’ story arc of police procedural being included to the tone and structure of the story itself. You’re meeting up with two dedicated policemice who not only love their job but they love how the job keeps them busy and on their toes! These two are championing the innocent and making sure to return stolen foods!

The fact that they operate out of a ‘shoebox headquarters’ and drive a ‘wind-up’ car to scout out the case on foot makes them a wicked duo of ingenuity! The clever bit is I could see readers re-creating these scenes, as making things out of shoeboxes was my own personal hobby as a child; sometimes being inventive helps you see things in different perceptional proportions. Flexes your imagination and helps you see alternatively to the norm as well. I do wonder if the publisher is releasing miniature Wilcox and Griswold stuffies? Imagine the hours children would have acting out the case files!? Oh, dear — even a thirty-something like me could see the hours knit off the clock in pure joy! Hmm,… not a bad idea!

Loved how the characters both major and minor have ‘expressive clues’ on their mousy faces to help emote the emotional responses to the story-line. There is a lot of learning stitched into this early reader, both from visual clues from the artwork on behalf of Zemke and vocal clues (if read aloud) by the story bits stemming from Newman’s imaginative world. The humour is classic and bent on the observational insight you’d expect from a writer who is attempting to catch the heart of a child. Sometimes the best jokes and nibblements of humour are writ out of everyday observations and incidents where you simply ‘smile into a smirk’ because of how brilliant the humour flows!

The chapters are reflective of scenes out of a play – each is set in a different location and quite acutely keen on giving you just the right amount of information to help your sleuth start to think about how the clues and the evidence are aligning to give the resolution to the mystery. How can you not giggle whilst watching a mouse detective fly threw Miss Rabbit’s hole in order to arrive inside her home? It’s the turns of phrase that left me in stitches the most; little spins on ordinary words and a true reflective charm of humour is the perfect companion for a mouse detective cosy!

I could immediately see how children might find this story to encourage them to ask questions of their Mums and Das to help explain some of the references being made — it would be the kind of book that not only teaches children to read but how to express interest in a subject or style of reading that they are not as familiar about as their guardians. For parents who are raising children and wanted to bestow to them a heap of love and passion for mysteries and suspense novels, I think this is a good stepping stone towards that end! I know it’s a book I would love to share with my own (future) children!

In true fashion of picture books and chapter books – the illustrations change the dynamics of the story per page as the proportional angles of the story alternative from up close and personal to a higher angle of sight to allow for the reader to dive straight into the action of the moment whilst Wilcox and Griswold are investigating. This also gives a wicked overview of the farm and the relation of how close Miss Rabbit and the scene of the crime truly is to everything else.

Ooh, and the most adorable bit is that Miss Rabbit has a *mailbox!* right outside her hole!

The best part I felt of the entire mystery is how it keeps you guessing and the outcome isn’t too predictable because of how the story unfolds. In fact, I nearly missed an important clue myself! Laughs with mirth! This is a feel good story where by the time you finish reading the tale, you want to pick up another case file of Wilcox and Griswold and see what they are up too next! These are two policemice you want to keep your eye on for new stories within the series! Even the motley crew of characters who come together to tell the story are ones that remain memorable in the end!

How Robin Newman encourages new readers to find joy in books:

Newman has a way of tickling your funny-bone whilst encouraging you to turn the pages; her story arc of narrative is based on a simple curiosity: who would steal a carrot cake from Miss Rabbit!? The dialogue is short and to the point, but it’s the way in which her words tie together with the illustrations by Zemke that make it a ‘Classic Cosy’ and an excellent ‘first choice’ to help encourage young readers and adult readers sink inside the beauty of a mystery!

Love how she used the setting of a farm to help exploit the scene of the crime but also to help give a portrait of how everything is set around Miss Rabbit. This is a great start to a new series for Early Readers because it keeps your attention on the story and doesn’t let you wander too far afield from understanding the definitions and meanings of how the story is told. I can definitely see how you could use this as a gateway into other lessons, not just for English as a language to understand but there is a foodie component I wasn’t able to put together myself!

In the back of the book is a lovely recipe for ‘carrot cake’ which can be baked together with your children! I love how the story encourages an outcome where you can enjoy a piece of the missing cake! And, this leads me to my next post which will be a Guest Author Post by Ms Newman on the benefits of reading mysteries! I cannot wait to share it!

An additional note:

I was even thinking to expand on my cheeky reference of small stuffies of the lead characters, it would be equally lovely if there were knitting patterns to give the guardians and parents who are knitty (or like to hook; crochet) something to whip up as a surprise to compliment the gift of the book! Stuffies are one avenue I want to explore as a knitter as I generally work on prayer shawls (for charity) and afghan blankets. When I discovered you could knit a stuffie (especially those known as Amigurumi) I drew a most eager eye towards scouting out materials!

Who knew the best ‘stuffing’ for your stuffies is roving? Yes, roving! The raw fiber before you get yarn in a skein or a hank! I’m allergic to synthetics, so polyester filling is out! I remember I uncovered you can be quite knitty indeed — I found patterns for carrots, and this book had me thinking about how you can knit not just the characters but little components of the story! Then, before you know it, the story comes alive in a new way for children who want to ‘play’ outside the time they enjoyed reading it!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Book Trailer of The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake via Robin Newman

Inspired to Share: You get a full sense of the cheeky humour and the originality of this cosy by watching this teaser of a book trailer! The startled chickens made me laugh out loud! If this doesn’t convince you how lovely it is to read this book, I am not sure what would! The continuity between the book trailer and the story itself were impressive!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

JKS Communications Reviewer Badge

It should be noted I previously have read and reviewed a wide variety of Children’s Literature, including stand-alones and serials. This is only a handful of the Picture Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult titles I’ve blogged about and a small fraction of the Children’s Lit I have read overall. Visit my Story Vault and my Children’s Lit Archive.

The showcases I hosted outside of YA include the following:

Juvenile Fiction | Middle Grade:

Picture | Chapter Books | Early Readers:

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Reader Interactive Question:

Children’s Literature allows children to step into that niche of a portal which encourages their imaginations and allows them to see the world with a unique pair of eyes towards the creative and written worlds which give us the most joy in life. What do you seek when trying to find new authors and stories to help encourage your children to read?

Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva.

{SOURCES: Book Cover Art for “The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake”, Author Biography, Author Photograph, Book Synopsis for both books, and reviewer badge were provided by JKS Communications and used with permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Tweets are embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Comment Box banner made by Jorie in Canva. The book trailer for “The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake” via Robina Newman had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel by way of the creature inside it. Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all. "I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story) more >> | Hire me as a betareader | Policies & Review Requests
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Posted Thursday, 25 June, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Art, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Book Trailer, Bookish Discussions, Bookish Films, Children's Literature, Cosy Mystery, Early Reader | Chapter Books, Illustrations for Stories, Indie Author, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm

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