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From the Great Pet Heist series, volume 2

by Emily Ecton ; illustrated by David Mottram

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-5344-7991-3
Publisher: Atheneum

The Strathmore Building’s pets and other residents, human or otherwise, are literally suckered into investigating rumors of a poltergeist in vacant 5B.

Sodden towels and other signs of intrusion in 5B may reduce the landlady to hysterics, but the multispecies team members assembled in Ecton’s The Great Pet Heist (2020) are made of sterner stuff (mostly) and are ready for new exploits. The discovery that the culprit is not in fact a ghost but a celebrity on the lam—to wit, the local zoo’s camouflage artist and popular performer, Jerome (“Mr. Wiggles” to use his stage name)—leads to a series of challenges ranging from persuading the arrogant octopod to slither back to his adoring public to foiling a slimy pair of scam artist ghostbusters. Though the animal cast is unusually diverse (Jerome isn’t even the only octopus hanging out in the Strathmore’s plumbing, as readers of the opener will know), the human one, a Black police officer aside, presents White. Still, in Mottram’s lamentably infrequent illustrations everyone glows with character, and closing views of one octopus offering a thumbs up and another in the midst of a gleeful cannonball end the romp on high notes.

Silly business galore, with more than a few sly tentacular twists.

(Paranormal. 8-12)