September 9, 2015

The Strength of Family and Teamwork: The Inspector Dewey Book Review

It’s no secret that my daughter and I share a love of reading. In fact, one of our favorite things to do together is read after lunch time and before dinner time. And now that my daughter is slowly learning the lay of the world, she’s recognizing images from the vivid pages of her most treasured books. From Santa in the Polar Express to the restless Bunny in Good Night Moon, Little Lady is becoming more aware of those distinct characters in her stories. 

And I suspect, Inspector Dewey will be one she recognizes as well. With its striking illustrations, vivid vocabulary and thrilling plot, the story of this persistent feline and his family’s late night adventure is guaranteed to be a memorable tale to all kids. 
Written by Kristen Heimerl with Irene Bofill as the illustrator, Inspector Dewey is a lovely tale about a group of cats and their owner. The title character, Dewey is both smart and cunning, and his two friends, Thumper and Lily are the perfect compliments to his persistent personality.  Together with their human, Anna,  they embark on a night filled with suspense, excitement and sweet triumph, all to ensure the safety of the neighborhood from a lurking intruder outside their home.

The illustration provides a striking backdrop to this rather thrilling adventure. The vivid hues of purples, blues, and the soft shades of yellows and oranges strike just the perfect combination to bring this lovely Dewey’s story to life. In fact, each page is so beautifully crafted, that my almost 2-year old daughter lingered on each of them as we read, just so she can admire the pictures shown.
With a great balance of subtlety and vibrance, Ms. Bofill was able to capture the wit of Inspector Dewey, the playfulness in Lily, the enthusiasm of Thumper, and the kindness of their owner, Anna in her illustrations, adding another creative layer to this exciting story. 

Perhaps what I found most pleasing about this story is its substance. More often than not, books for children are often too simple, in plot, in vocabulary, and even in characters. In some cases, authors forget that children need to be challenged in those areas as well. Fortunately,  Ms. Heimerl provides that balance between the age-appropriate and the challenging with Inspector Dewey.
For instance, the story presents kids plenty of opportunities to learn new and challenging words, one that they can add to their growing vocabulary. In essence, language not only shows Dewey’s witty personality, but also his detailed perspective on this exhilarating night.  The overall plot and theme of the story is also valuable. Indeed, Heimerl takes her readers through an exciting night as her protagonist tries to stop an impending  threat to his neighborhood, but the story is so much more. In the quest to catch the suspicious man lurking on their streets, Dewey shows the importance of family and team-work; that it’s not only important to protect those you love, but also work together to do so.

It’s no doubt that Inspector Dewey is one for all kids to enjoy. It’s exciting, beautifully illustrated, and contains important lessons from which children can learn.  A perfect combination to an endearing journey of family, trust and excitement, and I highly recommend it.  

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