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Author: Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Illustrator: Jarrett J. Krosoczka

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Publisher: Walden Pond Press, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2013

Material: paperback

Summary: Detective Rick Zengo has been waiting his whole life for this. His first day of work on the Platypus Police Squad. While "Zengo" and his partner Corey O'Malley are getting acquainted (and it isn't going well!), they have a case: They've got a gym bag with illegal fish, and Zengo is convinced that Frank Pandini, a huge PPS benefactor, has his paws all over this. Can he prove it? or is his personal prejudice against Pandini clouding his judgement. This is a highly illlustrated chapter book mystery.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, read aloud book, illustrated chapter, remedial reader, independent reading

Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 10; read yourself: 9 and Up

Interest Level: 8 to 12

Reading Level: 4.9

Age of Child: Read with and by a 10-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter laughed and laughed, and donned her best New York accent when we read this. We had a galley so some of the art was missing, and that frustrated her; but all in all, we raced through this book because she didn't want to stop reading.

Adult Reader Reaction: Platypus or not, this is a fun, funny story. It is somewhat predictable (you know things will turn out okay in the end), but that doesn't mean that you always know what's going to happen next. Let's just say we were happy to keep reading and not have to put it up for the night.

Pros: Readers of all ages will enjoy this detective novel and its great characters and solid mystery.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a book that kids will read and come back to when they want to remember a specific joke. They might even pass it around for their friends to read.

If You Liked This Book, Try: HUMPTY DUMPTY JR.: Hardboiled Detective: The Case of the Fiendish Flapjack Flop   CRIME THROUGH TIME: SWINDLED! The 1906 Journal of Fitz Morgan   THE CASE OF THE STINKY SOCKS (The Milo and Jazz Mysteries)

Educational Themes: This is a book meant for reading aloud and enjoying. There are themes you can draw out if you're reading with younger audiences, but independent readers will want to just read it.

Notes: The publisher donated an advance review copy (ARC) to the Reading Tub, Inc.

Literary Categories: Fiction - animal characters, mystery, crime, middle grade series

Date(s) Reviewed: March 2014

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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