PICTURE BOOK REVIEW and INTERVIEW: The Deductive Detective by Brian Rock

by Brian Rock, illustrated by Sherry Rogers
Sylvan Dell, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-60718-6250
Picture Book
Grades PreK-2
Review copy provided by publisher in return for honest review.
All opinions expressed are solely my own.


Someone stole a cake from the cake contest--who could it be? Twelve animal bakers are potential suspects but Detective Duck uses his deductive reasoning skills to "quack" the case. After all, the thief left hairs behind so the thief wasn't a bird. Follow along as he subtracts each suspect one at a time to reveal just who the culprit was. This clever story will have children of all ages giggling at the puns and the play on words.


Brian Rock received a master's degree in Children's Literature and Creative Writing from Hollins University. Brian's short stories for children appear regularly in the regional magazine Kid's World and his poems for children have appeared in Highlights for Children, Poetry Train, and various regional publications.  His short story, The Frog Dad, was selected as one of the inaugural titles for iPulpFiction's "Don't Read This in the Dark" series.  For six years Brian worked in the Chesterfield County VA public school system teaching at-risk students.

Visit his website or connect on Facebook


Sherry Rogers spent twelve years as a corporate graphic designer and artist before "leaving it all behind" for the freelance world of illustrating children's books.  In addition to The Deductive Detective some of Sherry's other titles include The Penguin Lady, Ten for Me, Hey Diddle Diddle, Newton and Me, Moose and Magpie, Paws, Claws, Hands & Feet, award-winning Sort It Out!, Kersplatypus, Burro's Tortillas, and If You Were a Parrot.  Sherry lives in Northern California with her family and their pets.

Visit her website here.


Ha, ha. Hee, hee. This book made me laugh.  Not only does this book do an excellent job of providing an easily understandable look at deductive reasoning and how it works, but the use of wordplay makes it funny as well.  When Duck is called in to find Fox's missing cake, he methodically goes through the clues and the twelve suspects until he uncovers the thief.  Each clue eliminates one suspect through deductive reasoning.  A book like this could easily come off as didactic, but it didn't feel that way at all to me.  The book is easy to read and perfect for sharing.  There are many applications for classroom use, but it is also just a fun story. For teachers there is a wonderful explanation and activity at the end of the book about deductive reasoning, using logic and facts to come to a conclusion, making a complex subject understandable for the youngest student.  The illustrations are bright and cheerful and appealing. I had to laugh seeing duck wearing a suit. ;) Highly recommended for fun and learning.


What's the 'story behind the story?'
The story behind The Deductive Detective begins with a stuffed duck named Quacky. He's my daughter's snuggle buddy. I wanted to write a story for them both that was different than the usual "ducks in a row" type story. So I started to play with the word "duck," which led to deductive, which of course led to a detective. The cake part of the story I added for me - I love cakes!

What did you like/dislike about writing a picture book?
I love that first aha! moment when you get a great idea (or when an idea gets you!) I'm not so crazy about going back and revising and editing (although those are indispensable!) I love reading my picture books to kids and hearing them giggle at the funny parts. I dislike the whole business side of submissions, query letters and of course, rejections!

Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm not as little as I used to be. (Is that "little" enough?)

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do there?
If I had the frequent flyer miles, I'd visit all the mystery sites of the world: Nazca, Machu Pichu, Stonehenge, The Great Serpent Mound, Giza, Anghor Wat, etc. I'd explore and read as much about them as I could. There's so much that we don't know about our own history. Even worse, there's so much that we think we know that isn't correct. I'd love to get to the truth of all these great, ancient sites. Now that would be a story to tell!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love watching, playing and talking about football. I love cooking with my wife (especially during grill season!) I love reading and playing with my daughter. And I love writing songs with my friends in the Country band, Family Reunion http://www.familyreunioncountry.com/
Who inspires you as a writer?
My biggest inspiration is Jim Henson. Although he's not a writer in the traditional children's book sense, I love the way he worked with the Muppets and his Sesame Street characters. He never said, "I'm the adult creating characters to teach kids what they need to learn." He always created by finding the kid in himself and playing with the characters to see where they would lead him. I believe that's an essential frame of mind for successful children's writers, and one I try to achieve every time I sit down to write.

Favorite kind of ice cream?

Mint Chocolate Chip. Double scoop on a waffle cone, please!


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