This is a shorter chapter book, with illustrations telling portions of the story. I would say it would be good for 1st, 2nd or 3rd-grade readers who are just venturing into longer chapter books. Some of the main characters are talking animals, so the story falls into the fantasy genre. It is the first book in a series.
I really struggled to get through this book. There were many parts of the plot that didn’t make sense to me — why would Sir Sidney hire someone without checking his qualifications; how could Barnabas Brambles expect to get away with his evil plan in a week and not get in trouble; etc. I even tried to make sure that I considered the plot from the viewpoint of a younger child, but I was still bothered. I will say that the author tied things up at the end of the story, but it was difficult for me to keep reading to get there.
The main character, Barnabas Brambles, suddenly has a change of heart at the end of the story, that really didn’t fit his character or the events happening in the story. Even in fantasy, I have to care about the characters and feel they are real within the realm of the story. This one didn’t do it for me.