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BOOK REVIEW: Detective Dog by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

BOOK REVIEW: Detective Dog by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

June 2016
Hardcover, $24.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Picture Book



There once was a dog with a keen sense of smell.
She was known far and wide as Detective Dog Nell.

One might not instantly recognise The Detective Dog as a Julia Donaldson title, since so many of her works have been illustrated by Axel Scheffler, but upon closer inspection, you can’t deny that this book has the Donaldson feel, and the illustrations are fun and full of personality in their own right. 

Now Nell did detection from Tuesday till Sunday,
But did something totally different each Monday.
She found Peter’s bag and she tracked down her lead,
Then set off for school, where she heard children read.

Nell goes with Peter to school every Monday, where the children read to her and she gets to smell all the glorious books.

Books about dinosaurs, books about knights,
Books about planet and meteorites,
Books about princes who turned into frogs,
Books about dragons – and books about dogs.

But one Monday something is horribly different.

But then came a Monday when all was not well.
Nell sniffed the air, and she smelled the wrong smell.

Into the classroom the two of them hurried
And found Mr Jones looking terribly worried.
He tugged at his hair and he let out a sigh.
Peter looked round and started to cry.
Sniff, sniff, sniff! What was going on?
“The books!” cried out Peter. “The books have all gone!”

And Detective Dog Nell is on the case!


This is a picture book about a love of books, with a lesson built in about the joy of libraries and the fact that even the poorest of people can still get their hands on wonderful things to read. Because one of the most important things to foster in the forthcoming generations is a love of the written world. Get to them early, and they’ll be book lovers for life!

Thousands of books, from the floor to the ceiling.
The books gave the thief a most heavenly feeling.
He gazed in amazement. “Where am I?” he said,
And Peter replied, “In the library, Ted.
You can join if you want to – there isn’t a fee,
And then you can take lots of books out for free.”

I highly recommend this for any existing fans of Julia Donaldson, anyone who has yet to get around to reading her work, and anyone wanting to foster a lifelong long of books.



BOOK REVIEW: Detective Dog by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

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  1. […] of such classics as The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom and many more including, more recently, Detective Dog. The second is the illustrator, Helen Oxenbury, most known for We’re Going on a Bear […]

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