PJ McGee, PI and secret ninja, gets everything wrong (again) in solving his second case.
Mr. Prince the principal thinks fifth-grader PJ McGee spends too much time thinking about ninjas, so he suggests PJ attend “Rocket Science,” a science club run by Mr. Bellum. PJ’s none too keen until he learns the club will have a science fair and there will be a prize, a real metal trophy shaped like a rocket ship. PJ successfully knocks out his stiffest competition, Mr. Bellum’s daughter Sara, and devises a sure-win project: a magnetic pickle. But when the trophy goes missing, and the key to its display case is found in PJ’s stinky backpack (the pickle is getting riper by the day), PJ is disqualified. He’s certain Sara is trying to frame him for a crime she committed, and he’s committed to proving it despite the evidence. His sidekick, third-grader Dante, tries to help, but PJ’s more ready to accept bumbling fourth-grader Benny’s help. Can PJ crack the case, avoid boogers and impress his absent father? Maybe not, but he’ll inspire giggles as he tries. Mack’s frenetically whack-a-doodle second Clueless McGee title manages to meld mystery and humor in a tale told as much in cartoons as text. Rube Goldberg–ian calamities and grossness are neatly balanced by good intentions and a little friendship lesson.
Even a frog-smacker can see this series has legs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 7-12)