I gave this book to my 10-year-old son and when I asked him his thoughts, his immediate response was: “Can I have the next one?” That’s always a telling sign. This isn’t a serious read. This is a fun and light read. But it’s filled with suspense and middle grade goodness!
By John Patrick Green
01: First Second, 2020
Grades 3 and up
Our “InvestiGators” are two alligators who work for an organization that sets out to right the wrongs of the world. They have V.E.S.T.s (Very Exciting Spy Technology) and S.U.I.T.s (Special Undercover Investigator Teams). They also have lots of punny humor and a hilarious plot that is so offbeat, it is brilliant in its offbeatness. (I know that’s not a word….) Their mission takes them to a famous bakery where the renowned and famous baker has gone missing. Then there’s an explosion at the Science Factory—where a giant cake has just been delivered. One wonders how good these InvestiGators really are at their job, but no one is left wondering how funny (read: corny) they are.
The artwork compounds the comical feel the text of the graphic novel already sets up. The illustrations are brightly colored, and the images are vivid with a real cartoonish feel. This could be a Saturday morning cartoon. The heaps of humor are perfect, especially after all the very serious reads I’ve had. Even writing out this review and leafing through the book has had little smiles creeping onto my face and a few chuckles escaping. Glad I’m alone at the moment. I hate to explain why I’m laughing at a book. No one gets it.
This is a must for most middle grade and young middle schoolers who just want a laugh.
About Esther Keller
Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.
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