cover image The Missing Hamster (Beatrice Bly’s Rules for Spies #1)

The Missing Hamster (Beatrice Bly’s Rules for Spies #1)

Sue Fliess, illus. by Beth Mills. Pixel + Ink, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-64595-028-8

Beatrice has successfully recovered precious items ranging from a child’s wizard cape to the remote control, but her biggest case so far concerns missing class hamster Edgar, who’s left behind a room of mournful kids. Following a hunch that he’ll go in search of food, the white-skinned protagonist tracks him into the absolutely off-limits teacher’s lounge, where she finds an impressive luncheon spread and Edgar in the middle of it all, munching strawberries. But what about Beatrice—will she take the rap for going where no kid should ever go? Nope—the teacher who catches her is partly culpable for Edgar’s food obsession. It’s a plot straight out of the school comedy files, and Beatrice is really more private eye than spy. Yes, she wears dark glasses and slinks around—one of Fliess’s (Sadie Sprocket Builds a Rocket) “Super Spy Rules” is “Be Quiet. (No Flip-Flops!)”—but like any classic detective, she also observes, deduces, follows leads, and evaluates suspects. Mills’s (Ella McKeen, Kickball Queen) animation-styled illustrations, however, should pull in readers with their comic drama and jaunty spoofiness. And what school kid hasn’t suspected that the teachers are having too much fun behind closed doors? Ages 4–7. [em]Author’s agent: Jennifer Unter, the Unter Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Claire Easton, Painted Words. (Apr.) [/em]