INVESTIGATORS TAKE THE PLUNGE

From the InvestiGators series , Vol. 2

In this sophomore romp, the silly investi-gators take to the sewers to once again save their city.

Mango and Brash, the utility vest–sporting A- (for alligator) Team of the Special Undercover Investigation Team, are on the case to locate a rogue robot that received an accidentally transmitted code giving it the ability to combine two things (which is great in the case of the wheels and shoes that make rollerskates but suboptimal in the case of broccoli candy). Also seeking this bot is their foe Crackerdile, an ex–S.U.I.T. agent who’s been turned into a crumbly cracker. Crackerdile hopes to use the bot to combine himself with something less brittle. When the city floods, Brash and Mango are blamed and demoted, and S.U.I.T. assigns B-Team badgers Bongo and Marsha to the case. Green’s second entry in his ongoing graphic series is as fun and fast-paced as predecessor InvestiGators (2020), with its recognizable candy-colored art and high-octane punning. Young readers who like their humor dialed up to the max should feel right at home here with breezy bathroom humor, chuckle-causing wordplay (puns and goofy acronyms abound), and snort-inducing names including Bill Plungerman the plumber and a reporter called Cici Boringstories. Even for those unfamiliar with this series, this installment makes for a fine jumping-in point, and it should certainly whet appetites for the next proposed volume. Human characters display a variety of skin tones.

A surefire crowd pleaser. (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21998-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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An effort as insubstantial as any spirit.

THE MYSTERIOUS MESSENGER

Eleven-year-old Maria Russo helps her charlatan mother hoodwink customers, but Maria has a spirited secret.

Maria’s mother, the psychic Madame Destine, cons widows out of their valuables with the assistance of their apartment building’s super, Mr. Fox. Madame Destine home-schools Maria, and because Destine is afraid of unwanted attention, she forbids Maria from talking to others. Maria is allowed to go to the library, where new librarian Ms. Madigan takes an interest in Maria that may cause her trouble. Meanwhile, Sebastian, Maria’s new upstairs neighbor, would like to be friends. All this interaction makes it hard for Maria to keep her secret: that she is visited by Edward, a spirit who tells her the actual secrets of Madame Destine’s clients via spirit writing. When Edward urges Maria to help Mrs. Fisher, Madame Destine’s most recent mark, Maria must overcome her shyness and her fear of her mother—helping Mrs. Fisher may be the key to the mysterious past Maria uncovers and a brighter future. Alas, picture-book–creator Ford’s middle-grade debut is a muddled, melodramatic mystery with something of an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink feel: In addition to the premise, there’s a tragically dead father, a mysterious family tree, and the Beat poets. Sluggish pacing; stilted, unrealistic dialogue; cartoonishly stock characters; and unattractive, flat illustrations make this one to miss. Maria and Sebastian are both depicted with brown skin, hers lighter than his; the other principals appear to be white.

An effort as insubstantial as any spirit. (author’s note) (Paranormal mystery. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20567-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse.

MEET THE BIGFEET

From the Yeti Files series , Vol. 1

It’s a Bigfeet family reunion!

Everyone’s favorite frosty, furry cryptid, the yeti, actually has a name: Blizz Richards. From his supersecret HQ in Nepal he keeps in touch with his fellow cryptids, all of whom have sworn an oath to keep themselves hidden. That’s not always easy, especially when there are cryptozoologists, like the nasty (but bumbling) George Vanquist, who are always trying to expose the secretive creatures. Vanquist got a picture of Blizz’s cousin Brian near his home in British Columbia, causing the mortified Brian to disappear entirely. When Blizz receives an invitation to a Bigfeet family reunion in Canada, he calls his buddies Alexander (one of Santa’s elves), Gunthar (a goblin) and Frank the Arctic fox to help him get ready. When they arrive in Canada, Brian is still nowhere to be seen. Can Blizz and his skunk ape and other sasquatch cousins find Brian, have the reunion and evade Vanquist? If anyone can, the Bigfeet clan can. Illustrator Sherry’s first volume in the Yeti Files is a fast and funny graphic-prose tale full of labeled pictures and comic-style panels. Those just starting chapter books may have some trouble with a few big words, but they’ll enjoy the big friendly monsters and immediately ask for the next tale—which looks to be about the Loch Ness monster.

Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-55617-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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