cover image Case File: Little Claws (The Animal Rescue Agency #1)

Case File: Little Claws (The Animal Rescue Agency #1)

Eliot Schrefer, illus. by Daniel Duncan. HarperCollins/Tegen, $16.99 (176p) ISB

In this ecologically minded series opener, Schrefer (The Popper Penguin Rescue) introduces the interspecies odd couple that heads up the Animal Rescue Agency—patrician Esquire, a tweed-wearing, tea-drinking, jazz-listening fox, and fastidious colleague Mr. Pepper, a cantankerous elderly rooster. Working from tips supplied by field operatives, the duo sets out to save Little Claws, a young polar bear set adrift on an ice floe by a villainous fur-wearing animal trafficker who plans to sell the cub to a Florida zoo. Living up to their motto—“To each animal, the right to live its natural life”—the agents thwart the trafficker’s efforts, liberating a warehouse full of Arctic animals as part of the high-stakes plot. Though Schrefer plays Mr. Pepper’s domestic contributions for laughs, moments of absurdity (“That’s not the sound of failure—it’s the sound of a walrus!”), amplified by cartoon-inflected illustrations by Duncan (South), make for a lighthearted read with environmental conservation at its core. Back matter includes a recipe, an afterword with facts about climate change, and a list of further reading. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. [em]Author’s agent: Richard Pine, Inkwell Management. (Jan.) [/em]