In Stop, Thief! by Heather Tekavec and illustrated by Pierre Pratt (Kids Can Press, August 2014), the farmer entrusts Max the dog with a special mission: find the thief that is stealing all the carrots, berries, beans, and cherries. Full of confidence, Max chases a bug, believing it to be the thief. Of course, when he encounters his friends rabbit, pig, goat, and crow amid the carrots, berries, beans, and cherries, he confides in them his mission. All are more than happy to help make sure the thief does not get their special foods from the farmer’s fields!
Stop, Thief! is an entirely predictable book, yet much of what is told in the story must be read in the pictures. Of course it is the four animal friends that are eating the foods, and Max somehow turns a blind eye to them in each of the scenes. A careful reading will discern their actions on the pages, thus coming to the amusing conclusion of who is stealing all of the farmer’s crops.
The gouche paintings in the picture book are attractive and appropriately detailed: they are not too cartoon-like, but also not too realistic. The anthropomorphic animals are delightful and fun. I love how the pictures all feature the small Max as the center of the drama. The farmer is never shown other than his legs.
This would be a useful book for learning about inference. It could also directly tie in to a farm unit, although the animals definitely have personalities all their own!
Note: I received a digital review copy.