Thursday, April 21, 2016

Blog Tour: Celebrate Earth Day with Pipsie!

Pipsie Nature Detective: The Lunchnapper by Rick DeDonato and illustrated by Tracy Bishop. Two Lions, 2016. Recommended for ages 3-7.

In their second adventure, Pipsie and her friend,  Alfred the turtle, are off on the  " ...BEST school trip ever ..."  The two will partner up on the “Seven Wonders of Nature” scavenger hunt and try to locate and photograph all seven items on the list (an animal home, animal tracks, etc.). Pipsie and Alfred have just set out  when they realize their lunch is missing. Did a classmate take it? Or one of the forest denizens? Nature lover and detective Pipsie couldn’t be happier:

“Looks like we have a nature hunt AND a mystery to solve! … What could be better than that?”

The search for the  items on their scavenger hunt list leads them closer and closer to uncovering the culprit.  Along the way, Pipsie spots clues such as animal tracks showing a something dragging in the tracks. Could this be the missing lunch? When the tracks lead to a family of beavers, Pipsie uses her knowledge of nature and observation skills to eliminate the beavers as suspects:

“Beavers mostly eat trees and plants! And they weren’t dragging our lunch. Those are the marks their big flat tales make when they walk!”

As Pipsie records the facts in her detective’s notebook, Albert inadvertently gives her the clue she needs to catch the thief, but can they win the scavenger hunt?  

This short story can serve as a guide for outdoor activities on a young child's first family hike or school field trip. It can also be used to introduce mystery as a genre, story sequencing, and the value of journaling (detective’s notebook). Most importantly this book is valuable for demonstrating how children can use critical thinking skills such as cause and effect and observation to solve problems. Visit Pipsie’s website (see link below) for some excellent educational activities.

Bishop’s colorful and spirited illustrations create excitement and add to the fun. Have children check out the end pages which include items needed for the field trip (such as a field guide) and photos of some of the nature objects Pipsie and Albert found on the scavenger hunt (a feather, animal tracks, etc.). Backmatter introduces some fun facts about some of the woodland creatures children see in this story.

Check out the free downloadable activity kit here! Visit for more games and coloring, fun facts, more details about Pipsie and her friends, along with info about the author and illustrator. There’s also a link to Alfred Z. Turtle’s blog!

About the Author and Illustrator

Rick DeDonato started writing and drawing storybooks for his two kids, Alexis and Matt, when they were little. They’re grown now, but Rick is still creating stories. He is the author of Pipsie, Nature Detective: The Disappearing Caterpillar, illustrated by Tracy Bishop. When he’s not dreaming up new adventures for Pipsie, he’s an award-winning creative director in advertising. Born in New Jersey, he now lives in Wilmington, Delaware, with Nancy McAleer; their two dogs, Tugger and Nacho; and their turtle, Alfred E. Turtle.

Tracy Bishop won an art contest in kindergarten, and she’s been creating art ever since. A graduate of San Jose State University, she is also the illustrator of Not the Quitting Kind by Sarra J. Roth and Pipsie, Nature Detective: The Disappearing Caterpillar by Rick DeDonato. She lives in San Jose, California, where she is inspired on a daily basis by her son, husband, and a hairy dog named Harry.

Thanks to Blue Slip Media for letting me review the book and participate in the blog tour.

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