Author Interview and Review: The Deductive Detective by Brian Rock and Illustrated by Sherry Rogers

The Deductive DetectiveThe Deductive Detective by Brian Rock and Illustrated by Sherry Rogers.  Ages 4 – 8 (2.5 year old son loves it).  Sylvan Dell Publishing.  March 2013.  32 pages.  ISBN-13: 978-1607186137. Fiction. $17.95 (On Amazon for $14.00)

Quick Summary:  Someone has stolen a cake from the cake baking contest!  Fortunately, Detective Duck is on the case and he’s working fast to find the thief.  Using his incredible super power of deductive reasoning — he is able to figure out who did it and bring the culprit to justice.

Our Experience Reading this Book:  We highly, highly recommend The Deductive Detective.  It is a lot of fun.  We’ve read it everyday, several times a day, for the past two weeks and we really enjoy it.  It’s an easy book to like no matter how many times we reread it.  The jokes, the story line, and the pacing make it a great book.

Like a lot of kids I know, my son memorizes books.  He’s memorized most of The Deductive Detective along with the subtraction facts included in this book.  (All the subtraction facts in this book are in increments of one as each suspect is ruled out one by one.) The biggest surprise about this book is hearing my son complete simple subtraction sentences like: “11 suspects – 1 rooster is 10 suspects.”

What a cool and easy-going way to memorize subtraction facts even if he doesn’t grasp the underlying meaning yet.

This book also sparked a lot of discussion between me, my son, and my husband.  Every time Detective Duck rules out a particular suspect, I ask a lot of questions that leads my son to ask even more questions.  (Why don’t swans have fur?  Why doesn’t a pig have a long tail? How do you bake from scratch?)  It makes for very lively family dinner conversations.  Which is so cool.  It’s amazing watching my son be able to actively participate in a conversation — not just tell a story or repeat something that happened — but really be able to converse about something.

I should probably warn you:  there are lots of puns in The Deductive Detective.  I realize that puns are a very controversial subject and they invoke a great variety of emotions in all people.  We happen to love them.

This is one of those books that we’ll be reading for years.  We read it now, when my son is two, because it’s a fun story with jokes and great illustrations.  We’ll keep reading it as he gets older to talk more with him about deductive reasoning and reinforce simple subtraction.

There’s an educational section in the back of the book with lots of great questions. For example, “If you’re eating breakfast, what time of day do you think it is?”  I asked my son this question and this sparked a great conversation with him about the difference between breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

This book has sparked the most interesting conversations between us of all the picture books we’ve read so far.  I love this book and am very happy with how much my son has learned from us reading this book together.

Where Obtained: I received a review copy from the publisher.  No other compensation was received.  The opinions expressed here are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

FTC Disclosures:  Some of the links in the post above are Amazon affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the book, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Author/Illustrator Website:  


Interview with Brian Rock:

TPBR:  What inspired you to write The Deductive Detective?
BR:  My daughter has a stuffed buddy named Quaky. Quacky is surprisingly good at playing hide and seek. We have spent hours trying to find him over the years. At one point I commented that we need a detective to find the duck, which led to duck detective, which led to The Deductive Detective.
TPBR:  What picture books did you read as a child?
BR:  Everyone I could get my hands on! I was especially drawn to stories that were funny, fantastical or otherworldly. I loved books that opened up worlds of possibilities like Harold and the Purple Crayon and Where The Wild Things Are and any of the Grimm’s Brothers type fairy tales. As a writer, I still enjoy exploring possibilities outside normal reality – as long as I can make it back by dinner!
TPBR:  What picture books do you read to your daughter/what are her favorite picture books?
BR:  We Love books that we can read together. Two of our all time favorites are The Monster At The End of This Book and The Duckling Gets A Cookie?!?! It’s fun when the character breaks the “fourth wall” and interacts directly with the reader, especially when the character is as emotionally animated as Grover and Pigeon!
TPBR:  What interesting things did you learn at Hollins in your Creative Writing Program?
BR:  The most important thing I learned is that there’s more to writing than just the first draft. The Hollins program was my first experience with an intensive peer critique group. Getting feedback from other writers is one of the most important steps to developing as a writer. I also learned that it is possible to put too much hot sauce on a burrito.
TPBR:  What do you think makes a great story?
BR:  Love. Laughter. Lesson. I think there are many good stories that emphasize teaching a lesson, or that are funny, or demonstrate love. But a story that combines two or all three of these elements rises to a higher level. My favorite picture book of the last five years is The Duckling Gets A Cookie?!?! by Mo Willems. He manages to create a lovable character in Pigeon. He makes you laugh out loud with Pigeon’s overly-dramatic rants. And in this particular story, he adds a nice lesson about using manners instead of just demanding things.
TPBR:  You clearly like puns, do you have any favorite puns?
BR:  I don’t want to pun-ish you too much, but I love some of Groucho Marx’s lines. One of my favorites is, “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Of course, inside a dog, it’s too dark to read.” For me though, the best puns are the ones that come quickly, and naturally through the flow of a conversation or the telling of a story. Some of the best puns in stories are ones that are so subtle, you may not even realize them until you reread the passage.
TPBR:  What do you aspire to teach your daughter about creativity?
BR:  Like Albert Einstein, I want to teach her that, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” You can know everything about the past, but you can create the future with imagination!
TPBR:  What has someone done in your life to encourage your creativity?
BR:  Everyone who has ever laughed at one of my jokes or stories has unwittingly inspired me to keep creating. To me laughter is the most beautiful sound in the world. The poet, Galway Kinnell says that, “Laughter is our stuttering in a language we can’t yet speak.” It would be nice if more people made an effort to learn that language.
TPBR:  Do you think Detective Duck will be working on another case anytime soon?
BR:  As you know, crime never sleeps. So the Deductive Detective may be called back into action soon!
Thank you, Brian!  

Some of my Favorite Reviews and Interviews of The Deductive Detective:



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  1. This sounds like a fantastic book! I like puns when they’re well done, and it sounds as if that’s the case here. I also love the interview. I’m always interested in learning more about people’s writing processes.


  2. Pingback: review – The Deductive Detective by Brian Rock | Kid Lit Reviews

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