Super Detectives by Cale Atkinson

Review by Jocelyne Gregory

Tundra Books (Penguin Random House), February 2021

64 pages, hardcover, $16.99 CAD, ISBN 9780735267428

Ages 6–9, Grades K–4

Picture Book, Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Comedy/Humour, Mystery

There’s no better way to spend a rainy day than with a good detective story. Super Detectives by Cale Atkinson is just that. Meet best friends Simon—a ghost with an obsession for writing detective novels and watching classic detective movies—and Chester—a young human who seeks adventure. With the aid of a trunk filled with costumes in Chester’s attic, Simon and Chester transform into the crime-solving duo Super Detectives.

It isn’t long before Simon and Chester find themselves with a case to solve: the sudden appearance of a pug in Chester’s kitchen. Working together, they set out to solve case of The Mysterious Pug. As the reader discovers, Roy the Pug, or as Simon calls him, “Von Curly Tail,” isn’t ready to give up the secrets of who he belongs to, where his home is, or how he got into Chester’s house in the first place. But with the Super Detectives on the case and with Chester’s human touch, the mystery will soon be solved.

Super Detectives’ illustrations are bright, colourful, and engaging. The faces of the characters are expressive and personable, and each scene is filled with background details that draw readers in and keep them turning the page for more. There are several black-and-white illustrations that give homage to the film noir detective movies of the 1940s and 1950s. The dialogue between Chester and Simon is often witty and humorous, and complements the illustrations perfectly.

Super Detectives will appeal to young and old readers alike, and is an ideal book for readers who enjoy mysteries, comedies, and illustrations of pugs. Super Detectives is the first in the Simon and Chester series, and would charm audiences who enjoyed other comedic and mystery graphic novels series, such as Dog Man.

Jocelyne Gregory is a UBC MFA creative writing graduate and a graduate of SFU’s the Writer’s Studio. She’s an author and editor and has provided manuscript consultations with the Sechelt Public Library and the Writer’s Studio. A lifelong gamer and fan of comics, she lives on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada.

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