From Cree author Hutchinson, an Indigenous version of the Hardy Boys full of rez humor.



Calling themselves the Mighty Muskrats, a team of cousins from Windy Lake First Nation in Canada set out to solve the mystery of a missing person. 

Hired by a mining company to study the cultural value of potential prospecting sites on the reserve, the “bone-digger” archaeologist, Dr. Troy Pixton, has seemingly vanished while out conducting fieldwork. Chickadee and her cousin Samuel overhear Uncle Levi, a member of the Windy Lake police force, tell Grandpa about the disappearance, and the two enlist Samuel’s brother, Atim, and their other cousin Otter to help in the search. With very little information regarding Pixton’s last whereabouts to go on, the four kids race to their makeshift fort, a broken-down school bus parked in the community junkyard, to formulate a plan. As they interview community members, follow leads, and tail Uncle Levi, it soon becomes apparent that anyone—from elders concerned about desecration of sacred sites to environmental warriors dedicated to protecting water—could be involved. It will take teamwork and Indigenuity for the Mighty Muskrats to solve the case. The third-person narrative economically informs unfamiliar readers regarding Indigenous/First Nation politics, family dynamics, and concerns in an entertaining manner without detracting from the plot. Additionally, Chickadee’s rez-tech savvy pairs well with her cousin Otter’s bushcraft skills, and, along with Atim’s brawn and brother Samuel’s leadership, the four make a fine team.

From Cree author Hutchinson, an Indigenous version of the Hardy Boys full of rez humor. (Mystery. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77260-085-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Second Story Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Written in workhorse prose, it’s an amiable enough read.


The prolific king of the beach read is back with an intergenerational mystery for the 9-to-12-year-old set.

Ali Cross, the son of Patterson’s most famous creation, African American homicide detective Alex Cross, is “starting to think the worst might have happened” to his mixed-race friend Gabriel “Gabe” Qualls, who disappeared on Dec. 21 and hasn’t been heard from as of Christmas Eve, when the book opens. Ali offers an impromptu prayer for Gabe at the pre-holiday service at his all-black church as well as an impromptu press conference outside of it as journalists and paparazzi confront Alex about his alleged coma-inducing assault of a murder suspect’s father. Then someone robs the Crosses’ home that night along with four other homes; the Crosses’ Christmas gifts are stolen. Ali, obsessed with finding Gabe and feeling that these events will distract his dad and the police from searching for him, starts his own investigation—complete with looking at some contraband footage of Gabe’s unusually loaded backpack obtained by Ali’s stepmother, also a cop—and questioning his school and gaming pals, a diverse group. Writing in Ali’s voice with occasional cutaways to third-person chapters that follow Alex, Patterson sprinkles the narrative with pop-culture references even as he takes readers through the detective process.

Written in workhorse prose, it’s an amiable enough read. (Mystery. 9-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53041-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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