A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Young readers will get an idea of the structure and elements of detective fiction, and learn a little bit about what police detectives do and what high school culture is like.
Kids, like detective Zengo, learn it's important to think before you act; a careful approach -- not rash behavior -- is needed to solve difficult problems.
Positive Role Models
Zengo is guided by loving, supportive parents; by his wise, good-hearted partner, O'Malley; and by the memory of his brave grandfather, who inspired Zengo to become a police detective.
Violence & Scariness
Platypus police officers use boomerangs (not guns) to stop crime. Zengo and O'Malley investigate a missing-person case that could turn out to be a murder case. Zengo reveals that someone he loved was killed by a convicted criminal, but the murder happened before this book's plot begins and is not described graphically.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
At the Bamboo club, the "in" drink is a rootbeer float.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked is the first in a series of middle-grade detective novels by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author of the popular Lunch Lady series of graphic novels and Punk Farm picture books. In this volume, rookie detective Rick Zengo and his wise but hapless partner, Corey O'Malley, investigate a missing-person case that leads them to an illegal fish-smuggling ring. Young readers might not grasp the author's attempt at parody with these Platypus versions of typical fiction or film detectives, and the use of "illegal fish" as a stand-in for what might be a drug-smuggling plot in an adult novel. However, there's a decent dose of slapstick and family-related kid humor here that readers might find funny, and the book contains nothing objectionable or frightening.
Is It Any Good?
Kids who like mysteries may find the story and characters entertaining, and there's some slapstick humor for kid-level laughs, but so far this series is benign but unthrilling.
Jarrett J. Krosoczka parodies police detective fiction in PLATYPUS POLICE SQUAD; THE FROG WHO CROAKED, creating a kid-ified version of a crime story starring various wild animals as police officers, a club owner, high school students, etc. Unfortunately, most of the humor and plot devices come off as forced to grown-ups and may be largely lost on kids -- kind of a lose-lose situation. Also, the plot involving illegal fish smuggling, while a funny substitute for familiar adult fare, is convoluted, and it's not clear why some kinds of fish are illegal.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.