Walter Dean Myers is perhaps better known to older readers for his poetry and works of young adult fiction. Some young readers will remember that Walter Dean Myers is the poet who inspired the young boy in Sharon Creech’s phenomenal Love That Dog.
Smiffy Blue is a goofy mixture of Sam Spade, Batman and Sherlock Holmes. Along with his assistant Jeremy Joe and his trusty dog, Dog, Smiffy is often called in by Inspector Hector of Doober City for solve their current crisis. In this volume of four stories Smiffy investigates the thefts of: a secret formula, a racehorse, the Mayor’s yacht and a valuable ruby.
His cases lead Smiffy all over the city following obscure clues. He and Jeremy Joe must question suspects and witnesses alike: Dr. Seymour Orless who owns the glasses store; Penny Stampp at the Post Office; Cheri Pye at the bakery; and Chubby Checkin, the hotel clerk. These silly puns will have young readers giggling even as they groan (likewise for any adults!)
Smiffy has an effective tagline for beginning readers each time he discovers a clue:
Smiffy Blue smiled. It was a shy smile. It was a sly smile. It was the kind of a smile that Smiffy Blue smiled when he had found a clue.
This is repeated throughout each story in a formula which emphasizes each crazy clue Smiffy discovers. Smiffy always catches the criminal. The solutions to the mysterious crimes at the hands of Smiffy’s deductive skills are equally ridiculous and will have young readers snorting with laughter.
Smiffy Blue, Ace Detective is a joyous, silly romp of a book. Readers ages 6-9 will LOVE these stories as a read-aloud or an independent reading choice!
**I also highly recommend Myers’ picture book Looking Like Me and his older juvenile series The Cruisers.