As many of you know my kids are huge fans of books. With Maddox, my oldest, I’ve been reading aloud to him even before he was born. I’ve read aloud the first four Harry Potter books, Charlotte’s Web, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Socks, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle just to name a few and over 2,500 picture books and easy readers!
Needless to say, this kid has read A LOT! And with all this reading, I thought it would be fun to spotlight some recent illustrated chapter book series we have been reading together.
Today, I wanted to talk about Tom Angleberger’s Inspector Flytrap series.
While many of you may be more familiar with his Origami Yoda series, we were introduced to this author through our love for his picture book McToad Mows Tiny Island.
This first book introduces kids to the humorous and wacky world of Inspector Flytrap’s Detective Agency, home to the world-renowned solver of BIG DEAL mysteries. The plant detective works tirelessly with his assistant Nina the Goat on his community’s unsolved cases. There’s no case too big, but there are definitely cases too small for this endearingly self-important plant detective.
On his first caper, Inspector Flytrap heads to the Art Museum’s Secret Lab to discover what important message lies in a mysterious glob on a recently discovered Da Vinci flower painting. The ingenious solution: Da Vinci was allergic to flowers, and the glob is, er, evidence of that ancient sneeze.
In book two, Inspector Flytrap and Nina the Goat return in a set of mysteries involving the president of the United States and a very large horse statue that mysteriously attracts a threat from outer space.
In this new caper, what happens when Flytrap loses his partner in crime solving? All the clues point to his assistant, Nina the Goat, as the culprit, leading the city to arrest her and leaving Flytrap goatless. To save the city, Flytrap must unveil the true master criminal, but can he do it alone?
These books work great as read alouds, but because they are filled with easy to read language and illustrations on every page, they are great for early readers as beginning chapter books, especially as you try to coax them out of predominantly reading picture books. The illustrations are black and white and help to lose that picture book quality and can work to not overwhelm newly independent readers.
This series is written and illustrated by a husband and wife team and it truly is a great pairing! The illustrations work immensely well, complementing and adding appeal and layers to the text.
Kids will love these stories because these characters are just so ridiculous and find themselves in some pretty crazy and funny circumstances. Adults will enjoy the humorous puns and use of language to make the situations even funnier. Everything is so goofy and off the wall that in a lot of ways it reminds me of watching kids play or tell stories: They just make it up as they go along and yet it all makes sense in the end. Each book builds off of each other, so it’s definitely important to start from the beginning to enjoy how everything comes full circle for Flytrap and Nina. While there are currently only three installments, I’m hoping that the series continues with more adventures for this dynamic duo!
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