Laura James (text), Emily Fox (illus.), The Case of the Missing Hippo (Fabio the World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective #1), Bloomsbury Australia, 1 March 2018, 144pp., $12.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781408889312
This first instalment of this new series has such an appealing cover and the story within is equally charming. Fabio, a slight pink flamingo, partial to a nice glass of pink lemonade, plays the starring role. The famous detective Fabio isn’t looking for a mystery to solve, but when he is roped into judging a talent contest at his favourite hotel, the Hotel Royale, he soon suspects something strange is going on. He enlists his long-time associate, Gilbert the giraffe, to keep watch for anything suspicious. When a talent contestant disappears, Fabio is quick to identify and interview the exotic suspects – a vulture, a rhino and a baboon amongst them. Jokes galore pepper the story, as well as an assortment of madcap animal characters, including a pack of bumbling warthog policemen.
The smart Fabio makes good use of his observation skills in this classic style mystery. The brilliant pink and green illustrations pop and add an exotic touch to a delightful and humorous chapter book for chapter book readers.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Foster