Dear Mrs. LaRue and Detective LaRue

I am a sucker for a terrier.  Particularly any terrier who is up to something, and Ike LaRue is definitely up to something.  These two books are the first two in a series by Mark Teague.

Dear Mrs. La Rue: Letters From Obedience School: The series kicks off with a newspaper article from the Snort City Register outlining Ike’s misdeeds. What follows is a series of letters from Ike to his owner protesting his banishment to Brotweiler Obedience School and bemoaning his treatment. One side of each page features full-color illustrations of Ike at his (seriously posh) school, the facing page depicts Ike’s life in black and white as he is framing it for Mrs. LaRue, complete with prison uniforms and stern guards. I can’t help loving the mischievous terrier who acts put out when he’s really quite spoiled. Not that I have personal experience with that or anything.

This is best for primary grades as it is pretty lengthy for a picture book and kids will need their wits about them to figure out the difference between Ike’s words and his reality. Also, the vocabulary is challenging – in one picture Ike is laid up in the infirmary with a label on his bed that says Diagnosis: Hypochondriac. Clearly not words the littlest ones will understand even if you are reading aloud.

Sex, Nudity, Dating – None.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – One cattle skull in a desert illustration.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – Mrs. LaRue has a close call when she fails to look both ways when crossing the street. The pretend jail pictures are dark and could be scary if you didn’t remember that Ike is just using his imagination.

Detective LaRue: Letters from the Investigation: When two cats disappear Ike is the prime suspect. He immediately starts writing Mrs. LaRue about the false nature of these accusations. Oddly enough, right around the time the cats disappeared, local birds start disappearing too! The police suspect a burglar, but Ike has other ideas. Written in letter format and punctuated by more articles from the Snort City Register, this is bound to entertain adults as much as the kids they are reading to.  Again, Ike’s reality is shown in sunshine-y colors, while the story he’s weaving appears in black and white.
Sex, Nudity, Dating – None.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – Ike shares that cats capture and eat small animals.  Birds are disappearing from pet stores and a pigeon shares that half his family was lost in attacks by cats.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – Ike is suspected of “disappearing” a couple of cats.

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