Charlie Piechart and the Case of the Missing Hat. Sadler, Marilyn (Author) and Comstock, Eric (Author) , Comstock, Eric (Illustrator) Oct 2016. 40 p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, hardcover, $17.99. (9780062370563).
Lovable, circular Charlie Piechart is back with a new mystery, this time one designed to teach us about shapes. Along with his sidekick dog, Watson, Charlie is tasked with finding his friend Margot’s hat, a necessary prop for the school play (and a perfect cone). In this quest not only do we learn about shapes but also the importance of clues.
Comstock depicts familiar school things—lockers, an art room, a science lab, a teachers’ lounge—with pencil, paper, and digital renderings. The simplistic look of the characters and the monochromatic colors place the emphasis on the shape theme, while sidebars add definitions and examples. Shapes are both front and center and tucked away in bulletin boards and costumes. The final pages review the shapes shown, offer a challenge to readers, and give directions for making a princess hat and a rocket (powered by hand). Never fear—a cautionary note suggests adult help for the more complex activities! — Edie Ching