Cover image for Tough cookie
Tough cookie
Wisniewski, David.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
When his friend Chips is snatched and chewed, Tough Cookie sets out to stop Fingers.
Reading Level:
AD 90 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 1.8 0.5 48264.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.8 3 Quiz: 22105 Guided reading level: NR.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Sam Spade, move over! In his years on the force, Tough Cookie Busted the Ginger Snaps and broke up the Macaroons. Now living as a private eye at the bottom of the cookie jar, he learns that Fingers has gotten his old partner, Chips. With his best girl, Pecan Sandy, at his side, Tough Cookie sets out to put Fingers away, for keeps! This hilarious spoof will have readers rolling in the aisles.

00-01 Keystone to Reading Book Award Masterlist

Author Notes

Children's writer and illustrator David Wisniewski was born in England and joined the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Clown College.

Wisniewski began the Clarion Theater Show after combining his circus and puppet talents with those of his wife.

He has received two Jim Henson Foundation Grants, a Citation of Excellence from the Union Internationale de Marionette, and a Caldecott Award for his book, Golem.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. He came from a regular batch--lots of dough, you know? And he lived the high life at Top of the Jar. But that was a long time ago. Now they call him "Tough Cookie," and the bottom of the jar is the place he calls "home." It's an OK life until she shows up--Pecan Sandy. They used to be an item, but it didn't work. The breakup still hurts. It was bad news then, and it's bad news now. Sandy says Cookie's old partner, Chips, has been hurt. Hurt bad. Fingers got him! Yeah, Fingers. Can Tough Cookie handle the case? Or will he . . . crumble? Caldecott medalist Wisniewski has lots of fun with this picture-book parody of the hard-boiled detective novel. The story is only half-baked, but the clipped, tough-cookie tone is just right, and the cut-paper pictures are, as always, remarkable. A good one for kids to share with Mom and Pop. --Michael Cart

Publisher's Weekly Review

Film noir informs Wisniewski's narrative and artwork in this hard-boiled crime story, which details life in "the Jar," where cookies prosper or perish "based on freshness and quality." The Bogart-like narrator, whose chocolate chip-pocked face is half-hidden by his yellow trench coat and fedora, has been around long enough to lose his soft spots. "They call me a tough cookie," he begins. "I guess I am. Came from a regular batch. Lots of dough." Now he's at the bottom of the Jar with a bunch of crumbs. To make matters worse, a blonde bombshell named Pecan Sandy has some bad news about his ex-partner, Chips. Seems Chips has tussled with Fingers, a giant human hand that occasionally reaches into the Jar. The tough cookie knows he must someday fight Fingers himself; luckily, Pecan Sandy mobilizes hundreds of unappreciated crumbs for the final battle. Wisniewski, who satirized cloak-and-dagger conspiracies in The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups, effectively lampoons the detective genre. He achieves a different effect with his signature cut-paper illustrations by shading them with colored pencil, and fittingly connotes the gritty subterranean cookie world. The perfectly crisp edges of his artwork in books like Workshop here take on gradations, with folds as rumpled-looking as the narrator's trench coat, off-setting the character's purportedly hard edges. A parting shot of a Robert Mitchum-esque silhouette of the hero and his girl will satisfy any sweet tooth. Ages 6-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-4 This crime caper set in a cookie jar filled with cookie characters is a delicious spoof on detective stories complete with a trench-coat clad hero and staccato dialogue. "Life is tough at the bottom of the cookie jar. It's a long ride to the Top of the Jar. I begin to think maybe I'm a nutbar ." Will Tough Cookie be able to rescue his friend Chips, who has been snatched and chewed by Fingers, and reunite with his true love, Pecan Sandy? Wisniewski's cut-paper illustrations play to the drama and lend dimension to the tongue-in-cheek lampoon. The level of humor is similar to that in The Secret Knowledge of Grown-ups (Lothrop, 1998), and children will giggle over the obvious. However, the subtleties of movie and mystery references are adult punnery. No adult will be able to read TC's first-person account aloud without using a deep Bogart-like voice. Move over Sam Spade. Julie Cummins, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.