A Clue For Clara by Lian Tanner

A Clue for Clara is a children’s book, but it’s an equally delightful read for adults. I read this book constantly giggling and with a smile on my 64-year-old face. After finishing the book, I passed it on to my husband: same reaction.

Clara is a scruffy little chook who is hen-pecked (literally) by the other chooks in the henhouse. She escapes into the human’s house and quickly becomes enthralled with TV detective shows. Clara is no ordinary chook and dreams of becoming a famous detective. She teams up with Olive (the local copper’s daughter) to solve sheep thefts plaguing the town of Little Dismal.

The human world is a constant mystery to Clara which leads to hilarious misunderstandings. And throughout the investigation Clara still maintains chook time (First Squawk, Egg O’Clock, Morning Dust Bath, Scratch O’Clock etc.), each time entry neatly recorded in her diary alongside her quirky investigation notes.

Olive also keeps a diary in which she pours out her grief in letters to her recently deceased mother regarding concerns for her father’s well-being and her battles at school with Jubilee Simpson. Olive is also worried ‘Constable Dad’ may lose his job if the sheep thefts are not quickly solved.

The book’s humour explodes into life when human logic bumps against chook logic. Who is stealing Clara’s eggs and what is that white thing with the yellow blob Olive is cooking for breakfast?

A Clue for Clara in also full of intrigue. It’s a great little mystery, heart-warming and a joy to read. Hats off to Cheryl Orsini for the delightful illustrations.

A Clue for Clara is a book for all ages and a bright little gem which put the sparkle into the dull days of lockdown. It’s a treasure, lockdown or not.

If you don’t enjoy A Clue for Clara, you’re a duck. And as Clara constantly reminds us: ducks are stupid creatures.

Reviewer: Moraig Kissler.

Publisher’s description

Clara wants to be a famous detective with her own TV show. She can read claw marks, find missing feathers and knows morse code and semaphore. There’s just one problem. She’s a small scruffy chook, and no one takes her seriously. But when she teams up with Olive, the daughter of the local policeman, they might just be able to solve the crimes that have been troubling the town of Little Dismal.

Publisher: Allen & Unwin. 2020