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on 22 October 2011
Leo Chameleon is a private detective just like Sherlock Holmes. The way he works reminds me very much of the way Holmes worked using observation & comparison to similar cases.
Together with various police forces Leo helps to uncover the truth regarding the disappearance of three canary eggs.
I love the way Hurst-Nicholson impersonated the forest creatures, just like Potter used to do with her little rabbits.
"Leon Chameleon P.I. and the Case of the Missing Canary Eggs" is a fantastic study of animal habits and behaviours put, in an easy way to understand, to a young reader.
I really enjoyed the interaction between the different species and the little fears and disagreements they would face while trying to create a forest community.
My son adored the illustrations and was imitating all the animals he knew.
I would recommend this book to children age 3-10, teacher's & librarian's.
I'm looking forward to reading the next story because Leon did grab my heart.
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on 15 May 2014
Janet Hurst-Nicholson has created these exciting detective stories which incorporate some of the interesting creatures living in Pigeon Valley, Durban in Kwazulu Natal. These animals come imaginatively to life and it is not long before you are transported to a world of fantasy and excitement as Leon Chameleon P.I., following in his Uncle Leonardo's footsteps, begins to unravel the mysteries that occur in the woods. Leon's amazing eye's that have the ability to swivel like searchlights on the end of bulging conical turrets make him the perfect candidate to solve the case of the missing canary eggs and the case of the kidnapped mouse. Actually, Leon fancies himself as a sort of Magnum P.I. which makes him all the more endearing as he goes to any length, putting himself at enormous risk, to prove himself 'P.I. extraordinaire'. Both books are enchanting and filled with delightful humour. They are highly recommended as books to add to the bookshelf along with other children's classics in the personified animal vein - i.e. The Wind in the Willows & Winnie & Pooh. If your children are being taught about conservation and the protection of endangered species' - these books would highlight the need for them to be more aware of the world around them - and more importantly, a world right on their doorsteps. They would make wonderful gifts as the children would be able to relate to the area as well as the local birds and animals. There is a section of interesting facts at the end of 'Leon Chameleon P.I. and the Case of the Kidnapped Mouse' which provides valuable and little-known information on chameleons, moles, woodland mice, house rats, & mole-rats. I have bought copies of both Leon Chamelon PI & the case of the missing canary eggs & Leon Chameleon & the Case of the Kidnapped Mouse for numerous children in my family and they have all enjoyed them enormously.
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on 29 August 2011
I became a huge Leon Chameleon fan as I read Leon Chameleon P.I. and the Case of the Kidnapped Mouse, so Jan sent along the Case of the Missing Canary Eggs for me to try. My six-year-old and I read this one together a chapter at a time, which is always a fun thing for us to do (I LOVE reading with my kiddos!). Every day he would remind me we had to read our next chapter of Leon!

In the Case of the Missing Canary Eggs, the reader gets to see where it all began. Mr. and Mrs. Canary's eggs have mysteriously disappeared, and, in their haste, the Pigeon Valley Police is after the wrong suspects. Leon Chameleon steps in and offers his services, finding significant clues that were previously overlooked. Leon must lead a daring plan to rescue the eggs and trap the real culprits before it is too late.

While I think more of Leon's personality showed in the Kidnapped Mouse, he is definitely still a truly likeable chameleon! He starts out more on the sidelines, using his unique abilities to observe the action and step in at precisely the correct moment. Of course, his Uncle Leonardo is an ever-present inspiration, and, ultimately, it is his influence that leads Leon to the conclusion of the case.

Again, I love the diversity of the different characters. The illustrations are beautiful and really helped my son make more sense of the story. I also still appreciate that the writing is not over-simplified, so it helps to expand my son's vocabulary and is still appropriately entertaining for adults.

I think my favorite part of this story was when Leon goes in to lure one of the suspects away from the eggs. I can't describe the scene without spoiling the story, so you'll definitely have to check it out to find out for yourself!
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