A pet iguana flushed down a toilet, a scientist’s unwelcomed potion for giant Brussels sprouts, a sociopathic dog named Mr. Snuggles and a reeking glob of slime that turns out not to be a baseball are but some of the elements in this Captain Underpants–style yuck-o-rama.
Chasing his last ball down into the town sewer, Stan brings back a noxious, dripping lump that not only disgusts and interests everyone at school but brings his long-lost pet Fluffy—grown to dinosaurian proportions—back to the surface in rampaging pursuit. The author loses few opportunities to drag references to Dumpsters, rotting food, underwear, farts and like subgenre tropes into a plot thick with mishaps, chases and melodramatic cliffhangers. Oddly, despite crafting a tale and cast that are both liberally smeared with muck, he seems to regard any specific mention of what goes into and comes out of sewers as taboo, but you could cut the innuendo with a knife. Tableaux done as large, simple line drawings featuring the annoyed-looking monster and hunched, hapless-looking smaller figures on nearly every page give the tale that fashionable Wimpy Kid lookA serviceable placeholder for the Captain’s next outing, with all the stinks and goo but not so much of the wit. (Illustrated fiction. 9-11)