Dotty Detective by Clara Vulliamy

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Dotty Detective by Clara Vulliamy

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Category: Emerging Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Z J Cookson
Reviewed by Z J Cookson
Summary: An enjoyable mystery story for newly independent readers. Recommended for girls aged 7 and up.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 176 Date: May 2016
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0008132491

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Dorothy Constance Mae Louise, otherwise known as Dot, has just moved house and has had to change schools. Luckily she soon finds a friend, Beans, and together they form the top-secret 'Join the Dots Detectives'. Both Dot and Beans are huge fans of the TV programme 'Fred Fantastic – Ace Detective'. They've watched every episode and memorised all Fred's techniques. It's just as well they have because their classmate Laura has hatched a plot to prevent shy Amy singing in the talent contest and it's up to Dot and Beans to uncover the plan.

Written in a diary format with lots of illustrations this is a good book for a newly independent reader. It has the feel, and length, of a full story but the spacing and simple language makes it easily accessible.

The story is also clear and straightforward to follow (although it may take some young readers a little while to get used to the first person, present tense narrative.) The diary format is particularly appealing and I imagine the publishers will be marketing this as a 'Wimpy Kid' style series for girls. The black and white line drawings are similar in style to Jeff Kinney but there's also a fun selection of more realistic and detailed pictures. Children are likely to love the selection of drawings of Dot's dog – McClusky. I especially loved the pictures of McClusky's special talents, balancing first a rubber duck, then a pile of tea cups and finally a pineapple on his head.

It's not the most original of plots but young readers will identify with Dot and Beans and will be routing for them to solve the mystery in time. They'll also love the way McClusky saves the day (but to say more would give too much away).

As an adult, the aspect of the book that I liked the most was how Dot slowly adjusts to her new school from being nervous and often alone to gradually making friends. Without making this an issue, it sends a positive message to young readers highlighting that it's normal to feel uncomfortable at first and you can't expect to make friends and settle down straight away.

Overall this is an enjoyable read for girls 7 upwards. If you liked this, why not try another girls' detective series such as the Mariella Mysteries. I enjoyed Mariella Mystery Investigates: A Kitty Calamity by Kate Pankhurst. Alternatively, I'd definitely recommend you find a copy of the classic first person voice for this age range which has to be 'Utterly Me, Clarice Bean' by Lauren Child.

Buy Dotty Detective by Clara Vulliamy at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dotty Detective by Clara Vulliamy at

Buy Dotty Detective by Clara Vulliamy at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dotty Detective by Clara Vulliamy at


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