cover image Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked

Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked

Jarrett J. Krosoczka. HarperCollins/Walden Pond Press, $12.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-207164-4

Krosoczka’s considerable fan base will embrace his continuing evolution from picture books and the comics-style Lunch Lady series to his first chapter book, a police procedural that shares the same affable goofiness of his earlier work. Rick Zengo is a rookie on the Platypus Police Squad, paired with grizzled veteran Corey O’Malley (Kalamazoo City’s residents are a melting pot of frogs, turtles, crabs, kangaroos, foxes, and one powerful, possibly corrupt, panda). The two are assigned to investigate some fishy business at the docks, which seems linked to the disappearance of a popular high school teacher. Krosoczka revels in detective clichés (especially hardboiled dialogue) but adds his own charming, G-rated details: the cops use boomerangs not bullets, the local nightclub serves a mean root beer float, and the contraband that’s corrupting teens is... synthetic fish. There’s also a frisson of socioeconomic tension—poorer kids buy fake fish so they’ll be as cool as the kids whose parents can afford “top-shelf seafood”—giving this gentle mystery a little intellectual heft to go with the chuckles. Final illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (May)