cover image The Crazy Case of Missing Thunder

The Crazy Case of Missing Thunder

Tony Abbott, illus. by Colleen Madden. Egmont USA, $13.99 (96p) ISBN 978-1-60684-340-6

Abbott (Lunch-Box Dream) treads on silly turf in this launch to the Goofballs early reader series, named for a quartet of aspiring private eyes. The kids are hoping for a new case to crack when narrator Jeff receives a phone call asking the Goofballs for help. Reporting to a palatial home, the four learn that Thunder, a flower-loving pet pony belonging to a boy named Randall Crandall, has disappeared. A visit to a flower shop, disguising themselves as plants, and Thunder’s penchant for pizza all factor into their investigation. Targeting readers who like a lot of humor with their mysteries, Abbott includes a great deal of wordplay and slapstick, and stretches the goofball joke to its limit (Jeff’s dog even barks, “Goof! Goof!”). Madden’s cartoons add to the fun, and Abbott’s clipped, dialogue-driven text is accessible for beginning readers and creates just the hint of a noir atmosphere (“A private eye has to notice everything. You never know what will turn out to be a clue”). The Startling Story of the Stolen Statue pubs simultaneously. Ages 7–9. Agent: Sterling Lord Literistic. Illustrator’s agent: MB Artists. (Feb.)