Who Is It, Whoodini? (Roman Yasiejko)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Who Is It, Whoodini?, written by Roman Yasiejko and illustrated by Gustavo Ramos, a playful pastoral tale of a mysterious discovery.

One day, two owls’ teatime is disrupted by a larger, colorful bird crashing into a nearby tree. Whoodini, a deerstalker-and-cape-clad owl, and her trusty pal Cahoots are on the case, embarking on an investigation to identify the rabble-rouser and where they’ve come from. After questioning a few animals at the nearby farm, Whoodini overhears a conversation that breaks the case wide open – but can the reader figure out the answer before the final page?

Uneven yet ambitious. What works in this Holmesian mystery tale for young readers works very well; it is a fun guessing game to try and determine the mystery behind the crashing bird, and one that is simple enough for little bookworms to suss out on their own if they so choose. The rhyming text flows extremely well, and it is a lot of fun to read aloud. I was even pleasantly surprised by Whoodini being given female pronouns, yet not overtly “feminized” visually; it was nice to find that our intrepid sleuth was a girl all along. However, there are a few areas falter a bit. I could nitpick about Whoodini’s slightly confusing name, especially as she is clearly modeled thematically and visually after Sherlock Holmes, but the main distraction was the disconnect between the artwork and story. While both are wonderful in their own right, it felt odd to have such a playful mystery paired with such deeply atmospheric acrylic and gouache paintings. While the artwork is gorgeous, it feels a little too weighty for such a light story, and the characters often blend in to the scenery a little too much. Otherwise, the length is fine for a storytime, and JJ did enjoy the final reveal. This one is definitely worth a look; even with its flaws, it’s a delightful ride from start to finish. Baby Bookworm approved.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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