An overnight elementary school field trip to the local museum turns into a mystery-solving adventure in Knight’s (Finn & Botts: Curse of the Cornfield Ghost, 2019, etc.) second chapter book in a series.
Best friends Finn and Botts are caught up in another spooky mystery—this time, during a sleepover with their classmates in the Dinosaur Gallery at the Kealstal City Museum. Why are bones missing from the new dinosaur exhibit? Where does the trail of grayish, oddly sparkly dust lead? Who’s responsible for the secret tunnel in the museum that Finn and Botts discover, and who’s sneaking around in raptor costumes? Knight weaves a smattering of information about minerals and gems into this lively adventure as well as numerous dinosaur facts. Along the way, his colorful main characters and their supportive friend Tess tour the exhibits, eat pizza, and identify the dinosaurs on the museum director’s scavenger hunt list. Knight’s atmospheric descriptions of the exhibits at night and of behind-the-scenes locations (including a security office with a bank of video screens) will give readers an enjoyable sense of what it’s like to be in a museum after dark. In the humorous, full-page, grayscale illustrations that complement each chapter, artist Meyers (The Baltimore Bandit, 2019, etc.) again depicts the characters as pigs, albeit ones that are completely human in appearance and behavior. (There’s one visual head-scratcher, however: The caveman masks that Finn and Botts wear at one point have human, not porcine, features.) The mystery that the main characters stumble upon and solve comes to an eventful conclusion, and the book ends with a word puzzle for readers to complete themselves, with answers that they can find throughout the story.
A promising series continues with a deft mix of suspense, relatable characters, and well-integrated educational entertainment.