Where have all the grown-ups gone, and why? Lucy finds the answers under her bed.
Suddenly left to their own devices, the children of Whiffington Town quickly devolve into a bewildered mob—except for 11-year-old Lucy Dungston. Unwillingly finding herself cast in the role of “the girl who knows what to do,” she determines to find out “what the jiggins is going on.” As it turns out, the garbage-loving, under-the-bed Creakers have bundled the adults off to the mysterious realm of Woleb to stop them from sending their lovely rubbish away to distant landfills. True to the spirit of his Dinosaur That Pooped a Planet (2017) and its sequels, Fletcher goes for the grotty, sending his doughty protagonist through slimy tunnels bearing an uncomfortable resemblance to alimentary tubes, past shops offering such delicacies as earwax ice cream, to a tavern where favored patrons get “extra snot drops” in their slops. From there the tale takes a distasteful white-savior turn: Lucy realizes that despite their nonstandard English and slovenly habits, Creakers have needs and children too, so she arranges to give them the moldering contents of the town dump. Devries’ playful illustrations feature wide-eyed humans (all white except for one 6-year-old brown-skinned diva with “bouncy hair” and her father) in expressive poses and stubby, comically ugly monsters.
Begins with a premise that doesn’t bear examination and goes badly off the rails toward the end: skip. (map) (Farce. 9-11)