It may not sound like a compliment, but the talking dog isn’t nearly the oddest thing in this gloriously odd mystery book.
Anyone watching American television would have to conclude that being a detective is the easiest job in the world. People are always solving crimes in their spare time: Mystery writers, doctors and the occasional district attorney solve murders when they come home from work. In that tradition, Robbins offers two kid detectives, Megan and Raf, and Raf’s talking dog, Bradley. Megan is a poet. Raf invents toys. And Bradley, of course, is the smartest of them all. As unlikely as the plot may seem—it involves a missing puppy, a robot squirrel and a pack of dogs that appears only at the full moon—it’s hugely entertaining. Every non sequitur makes the story funnier, and the squirrel is hilarious. (His packaging says, “He picks up peanuts with his little robot paws!”) There’s only one serious flaw: Megan writes haiku. Several literary magazines refuse to publish haiku, and this comic proves them all right. The best poem reads: “O moon, where’d you go? / You never write, never phone. / At least, a postcard?” But the plot is gripping even at its goofiest, and there are a few genuine surprises.
No story can justify the presence of haiku, but this comic book comes remarkably close. (Graphic mystery. 9-14)