Chop, Chop, Mad Cap!
Juliette Saumande has written several picturebooks in French, and translated many others, but this is her first book for children in English. It tells the story of Madgie M. Cappock, or Mad Cap for short, and her attempts to set up a Rent-a-Hero agency with her best friend, Norbert Soup.
Mad Cap is a messy tomboy of a girl, with a weakness for chocolate buttons and an unusual sideline in origami. Norbert is ‘officially a genius’, whose plans are occasionally stymied by his oversize cat, Scrum.
Before they can advertise themselves to the public as ‘general finders-out and useful superheroes’, Mad Cap discovers that there are a lot of mysteries close to home that they must solve. Her mother is behaving oddly, the butcher has disappeared, there are unexplained flashing lights across the street and strange tapping noises in the pipes next to Norbert’s bedroom.
Norbert is learning Morse code, which leads to a terrifying discovery when the children start investigating the tapping noises. But as the action builds to a climax in a secret underground passage, Mad Cap learns some useful lessons in how to deal with the unexpected.
Illustrated by Sadie Cramer, this is a gentle tale, with many of the elements of a traditional mystery adventure. It should appeal to girls and boys alike who fancy themselves as young detectives, and aren’t averse to eating the odd chocolate button in the process.
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