The Real McCoys
Swanson and Behr—the husband-wife creators of Everywhere, Wonder
and Babies Ruin Everything
—track a delightfully topsy-turvy day at Tiddlywhump Elementary in this heavily illustrated and impressively designed story. Their heroine is the hugely self-confident and aptly named Moxie McCoy, a 10-year-old aspiring sleuth inspired by an intrepid fictional detective. As the novel unfolds, Moxie interviews candidates to replace a best friend who moved away, attempts to identify the person who stole school mascot Eddie the Owl, and expects to clinch the award given to the student “who has best lived up to Eddie’s ideals of courage, patience, and wisdom.” Quick to judge and jump to conclusions, she doesn’t mince words: a pair of twins vying for the award “are about as lovable as the bumps on the end of an alligator’s nose.” Snappy analogies, similes, and double entendres play out in Behr’s energetic illustrations, a rambunctious jumble of cartoons, fonts, and dialogue balloons. At the heart of the story is Moxie’s deepening rapport with her bookish younger brother, Milton, and readers will hope to see more of both siblings soon. Ages 8–12. Agent: Meredith Kaffel Simonoff, DeFiore and Co. (Nov.)
Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly named one of the book's characters.