cover image Mutant Rat Attack!

Mutant Rat Attack!

Jay Cooper. Scholastic Press, $9.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-545-93297-4

Cooper, illustrator of the Food Trucks! board book, makes his debut as author with a whirlwind, Spy Kids–esque adventure, first in the Spy Next Door series. Dex Drabner’s dull life in Girder City gets substantially more exciting after the third grader stumbles into a plot involving flatulent rats and radioactive broccoli, then joins an underground organization of young secret agents, the Super-Secret Spy Kids. Cooper’s b&w cartoons fill the pages, crammed with puns and jokey asides (“Chard!” shouts Dex as he attempts to take down a giant mutant rat with a Gas-B-Gone pill). Much like Dex aboard his flying skateboard, the jokes don’t always stick their landings, but fans of over-the-top slapstick silliness will find plenty to laugh over. Ages 7–10. Agent: Teresa Kietlinski, Bookmark Literary. (Feb.)