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Mark Teague is an award-winning children's book author and illustrator whose books include the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling How Do Dinosaurs... series, the LaRue series, FIREHOUSE!, FUNNY FARM, and many other humorous picture books. Mark lives in New York state with his wife and their two daughters.
Kirkus Review Date: AUGUST 15, 2004 The captivating canine from Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School (2002) returns for a second adventure revealed through Ike the dog's letters, this time written from jail. The dapper and dignified Ike has been detained as the prime suspect in the disappearance of two cats from his neighborhood. His plaintive letters to his vacationing owner proclaim his innocence and the cats' guilt as pet birds in the area begin to vanish. Newspaper stories are interwoven into the clever format, which also utilizes the device of one side of each spread in color showing what is really happening juxtaposed against a black-and-white illustration denoting Ike's melodramatic (and fictional) description of his unfair treatment as described in his letters. When Ike escapes from jail, he decides he must "take matters into my own paws." He helps the police capture the cats, followed by a police ceremony naming Ike an honorary detective. Teague's innovative approach to storytelling is fun, but educational as well, skillfully imparting some valuable lessons in point of view and reading between the lines. (Picture book. 5-8) Booklist October 15, 2004 K-Gr. 3. In Teague's sequel to Dear Mrs. LaRue 0 (2002), a pair of cats hungry for canary flesh have escaped their apartment and left Ike holding the bag--a bag of incriminating cat treats. "Apparently it is easier for some people to blame a dog than to solve a crime," sniffs the offended Ike in a letter to his vacationing owner. As in the first book, children can tease apart truth from exaggeration by interpolating among the letters, the color scenes of reality, and Ike's gumshoe fantasies, cleverly rendered in black and white. It turns out that the "daring escape" from police custody is really a casual leave-taking ("I'm sure he'll come back when he gets hungry," says the officer in charge); his nighttime investigations are conducted from the comfort of a posh hotel room. T