Laura James’s inventive mystery Fabio, The World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective is packed with clues, talented animals, and colorful imagery.
Fabio goes to the Hotel Royal to get a refreshing glass of pink lemonade with his friend and associate, Gilbert the giraffe. The hotel is on its last legs, trying to drum up excitement and clientele by putting on a talent show. Through a series of events including a sick rhino, a singing hippo and her band of alligators, sleepy athletes competing in a 100-meter sprint, and lazy warthog police officers, Fabio becomes the head judge of the talent show, in charge of solving the mystery of the missing hippo and capturing the criminals involved. He does everything through logic and wit: the show must go on.
The book’s distinct characters are full of personality. Fabio earns his title, using his intelligence to solve every clue. Some terms at first seem grand for the audience, as when a character is accused of embezzlement, but they are helpfully defined within the text.
Chapters demarcate separate events with measurable changes, and the story flows well. An appealing narrative voice add to the story’s appeal, and Emily Fox’s illustrations are a gorgeous addition. Characters are drawn in a consistent, eye-catching way, and vibrant pink and green themes emphasize Fabio and the cast of suspects well, making turning the pages a delight.
Fabio, The World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective teaches logic and reasoning as well as concepts of cause and effect. Its twists and turns are fun to follow and, combined with its beautiful illustrations, make this story both thrilling and playful.
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