Detective Blue

Steve Metzger

Ill. By Tedd Arnold

Publisher: Orchard Books/New York (an imprint of Scholastic Inc.) © 2011
AR Reading Level:2.1
Lexile Measure: 300

Genre/Theme: Comedy and Humor, Mystery and Suspense, Nursery Rhymes

From the Publisher:
Miss Muffet is missing . . . and Detective Blue is on the case! "Today started like any other day. The dish ran away with the spoon." Little Boy Blue is all grown up, and he's a detective working to find Miss Muffet. Join in the fun as Detective Blue tries to crack the case with the help of his nursery rhyme friends. The fun is never-ending as Detective Blue interrogates grown-up nursery rhyme characters in order to solve the Missing Muffet Mystery. Kids, parents, and teachers can find a list of referenced nursery rhymes and go back into the story to find the characters.

From Linda:
This book is quite funny, the changing of original nursery rhymes along with the illustrations make for a “I wonder what will happen next” feeling! There are plays on words such as “we’re all washed up now!” The “three blind mice” with their sunglasses give away their identity by saying “Who just ran by?” “I didn’t see anyone.” Maybe it was the farmer’s wife.” It’s interesting that Goldilocks also ends up being Miss Muffet who is the missing person in all of the book! What a delightful way to solve the mystery!

AUTHOR Steve Metzger.jpg
Steven Metzger is the bestselling author of over sixty children’s books, including The great Turkey Face,When the Leaf Blew In, and Five Little Sharks Swimming in the Sea. Steve lives in New York with his family. For more information, go to His biography page on his website is wonderful. Lots of photos and info.

Illustrator biography:tedd arnold.jpg
Tedd Arnold is the bestselling author and illustrator of the Fly Guy, Green Wilma, Parts, and Huggly series. He received Theodor Suess Geisel Honors for Hi! Fly Guy! Tedd lives with his wife, Carol, in upstate New York. For more informatio9n, go to __www.teddarnoldbooks.com__


AMAZING AUTHOR WEBSITE: Check out the author website for puppets, coloring pages, and more. It is a wonderful site to see with kids.

Author introduces his book

Discussion questions:
Why is the sheep saying, “I hate haircut day?” - discuss- the intricacies of the story.
How did Mary’s lamb “almost” make it into the school house.
Why was it such a mistake for Detective Blue to slap Dumpty on the back?

FRACTURED RHYMES:Gr2 - 5, student choose a nursery rhyme not used in the book and write a “spoof” of that nursery rhyme. They then create illustrations to support their text.
If the reader or listener is not familiar with nursery rhymes, they will need exposure to the real nursery rhyme to understand the symbolism portrayed with its distortion.

Library Media Connection (November/December 2011)
Little Boy Blue has moved to the city to work as a private investigator and owner of the Blue Detective Agency. Detective Blue's days are spent solving urban nursery crimes, such as Mary's lamb trying to sneak into school. When Blue spots Jack Sprat running down the street shouting, "Miss Muffet is missing!" he's off to investigate the possible kidnapping. What a tour de farce! Both children and adults will laugh at the humorous escapades and the familiar nursery rhymes, as well as enjoy the surprise ending. The aside commentary and hidden references are seamlessly woven into the storyline. Teachers will be able to use the book to explore traditional nursery rhymes and folktales, as well as challenge children to create twists to traditional stories. The bright comic book style illustrations help bring the story to life and will appeal to all ages. Sabrina Carnesi, School Librarian, Crittenden Middle School, Newport News, Virginia. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Booklist (August 2011 (Vol. 107, No. 22))
Preschool-Grade 2. Detective Blue, who previously blew a horn and looked after cows and sheep, is asked to locate the missing Miss Muffet. He encounters a host of nursery-rhyme characters, including Bo Peep, Humpty Dumpty, and Jack Horner; eventually, he stumbles upon a spider that explains Muffet left in search of porridge—leading to Muffet’s recovery at the Bears’ house. Metzger’s clever story, recounted in deadpan, Dragnet-style prose, will entertain anyone with knowledge of Mother Goose. Arnold’s vibrantly colored cartoon art is a perfect match for the text; the use of comic frames provides ample space for additional rhymes and further clues. This will make a popular read-aloud, but listeners will also need time to pore over the illustrations. Pair with other nursery-rhyme-themed mysteries such as Margie Palatini’s The Web Files (2001) or Jeanie Franz Ransom’s What Really Happened to Humpty? (2009).

Linda Stahlman from Zone 1: Hays, KS , researched the activities, author info, and Judy Desetti created the wiki page.