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Mr. Chickee's Messy Mission    by Christopher Paul Curtis order for
Mr. Chickee's Messy Mission
by Christopher Paul Curtis
Order:  USA  Can
Wendy Lamb Books, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, CD
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

The Flint Future Detectives are active again in Mr. Chickee's Messy Mission, only this time there are two more members of the club. The smartest girl at school, Richelle Cyrus-Herndon is the new Madam President, and there's also a small dog that fits in a shirt pocket - Rodney Rodent. Steven relinquished his seat as president, and Russell Braithewaite Woods continues as record-keeper.

In one of the harbors of wintry Flint, Michigan, is a mural - stories high and covering a whole block - painted in 1932 as an advertisement for Vernor's ginger ale. The mural is a bit scary, with a winking gnome, sporting a conquistador helmet and a smoking pipe, watching from a tower window as other gnomes roll ginger barrels below. Russell and his dad, plus in-the-pocket Rodney, arrive at the Halo Burger for take-home food. Rodney Rodent peeks at the mural, becomes excited, takes off lickety-split, and lunges at the conquistador gnome. The gnome ducks, and in goes Rodney disappearing from sight - a canine on a mission.

The next morning the detectives - Russell, Richelle, and Steven - meet in front of the mural to investigate Rod-Rode's disappearance. Within minutes, they're all pulled into an unexpected scene. Mr. Othello Chickee explains to them about Yourside and Ourside, and gives them an assignment, where time is of the essence, to save Ourside from destruction. An African Masai woman, Ms. Naomi Tiptip, joins them to explain about the Ourside Old Souls and prophecies of the Chronicles of Zornea-Hu. The investigators hire a guide, Mr. Marvin Surly-Guide, from the House of Sullen Guides.

As they journey through Ourside, the detectives meet authors, including Ms. B. T. Bowling, writer of Hairy Plodder books. Ms. Bowling has a character she has not been able to use, the Great Morose Fire-Spewing Clabbernabber, who stands about fifteen feet tall with an amazing wingspread. The problem is that Clabbernabber is a vegetarian who only eats veggies beginning with the letter 'b'. Christopher Paul Curtis's tremendous imagination never wanes in this latest Flint detectives frolic. Enjoy Mr. Chickee's Messy Mission.

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