What parents need to know
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.
What's the story?
On his first day as a member of the Platypus Police Squad, enthusiastic rookie detective Rick Zengo is assigned to be the partner of experienced detective and family \"man\" Corey O'Malley. When the detectives are called to investigate a crime on the docks, they stumble onto a case that involves a missing schoolteacher and illegal fish. Zengo believes that all the evidence leads to Frank Pandini Junior, the giant panda big-wig who seems to control every business in town, but Zengo's overzealousness makes him behave rashly, and he gets himself and his partner into trouble with the police chief. By the end of the story, Zengo has learned to approach police work more methodically and carefully, while still fighting the good fight.
Is it any good?
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. 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.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why detective stories are so popular. What's fun about seeing animals solve crimes instead of humans?
Have you read the Lunch Lady books by the same author? Which do you like better, and why?
Try writing your own mystery or detective story. Who would be the crime-solver, and what would he or she investigate? Where would it take place?
|Author:||Jarrett J. Krosoczka|
|Illustrator:||Jarrett J. Krosoczka|
|Topics:||Adventures, Friendship, High school|
|Publication date:||May 7, 2013|
|Number of pages:||226|
|Publisher's recommended age(s):||8 - 12|
|Read aloud:||8 - 12|
|Read alone:||8 - 12|
|Available on:||Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook|