Chapter Book Review: Kate on the Case written and illustrated by Hannah Peck

Cover illustration by Hannah Peck, published by Piccadilly Press

Kate on the Case is a book which I missed when it was published in 2020, but having recently read and reviewed the newly published third book in the series, The Headline Hoax, I was delighted to see this one on the shelves of my local public library. I loved this book which I would summarise as Ratatouille meets Adventures on Trains for children of 7-9!

The main character Kate is an aspiring special correspondent, who is never without her trusty guide, The Special Correspondent Manual written by her one true idol, legendary investigative reporter, Catherine Rodriguez. Her other constant companion is her erudite pet rat, Rupert. The story starts with Kate, Rupert and her lovely Dad embarking on a luxury train journey to visit Mum, a famous scientist who is working at the International Polar Association based in the Arctic. The train is populated by a fascinating cast of fellow travellers who include: haughty Madame Maude and her very stupid cat Master Mimkins; Simon an accident prone conductor-in-training; a Russian priest with a litany of droll one-liners; a world famous gymnast Miss Bonbon and an alarming stowaway!

Shortly after the journey begins the guests start to notice that precious possessions are going missing. It’s time for Kate to put her journalistic skills into practice and use interviews, logic and a large dollop of courage to crack the case! Kate on the Case brilliantly introduces newly confident readers to the tropes of classic locked room mystery fiction through a plot infused with charming wordplay in a perfectly paced short chapter book. Hannah Peck’s distinctive illustrations add to the enjoyment of this beautifully crafted story, the orange palette perfectly in keeping with the unexpected mystery passenger.

Anyone who is looking for a book to encourage youngsters to get hooked on reading for pleasure should check out the Kate on the Case series. Fifteen years ago in my family it was Lauren Child’s picture books and short chapter books which hooked one of mine and I rate Hannah Peck’s unique blend of stylish illustration and writing equally highly.


One thought on “Chapter Book Review: Kate on the Case written and illustrated by Hannah Peck

  1. I thought this was a lovely book, Veronica and your review captures its appeal well. Books for this age group are so important as it’s a pivotal moment in creating that love of independent reading and this series is just the job.

    Liked by 1 person

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