Krosoczka, Jarrett. Last Panda Standing (Platypus Police Squad #3)
May 5th 2015 by Walden Pond Press
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Frank Pandini, having recovered from both The Frog Who Croaked and The Ostrich Conspiracy, is back and running for mayor of Kalamazoo City. When he is attacked with a boomerang by a flying squirrel while giving a speech, Rick Zengo is assigned to watch him. After Pandini outlines his campaign for a nut free city, Rick thinks he knows who is behind the attacks; the squirrels at Nutter's Nuts. Also under suspicion-- McGovern, who is running against Pandini, whose life might be more entwined with the opposing candidate than the people of Kalamazoo might imagine. O'Malley must investigate leads with the new member of the force, Jo Cooper. There's lots of tasty hot dogs and cocoa, but the squirrel threat must be neutralized.
Strengths: The mysteries in these are rather clever, and I'm glad that the film noir device isn't used as heavily in this one. Pandini is actually a very complex character; most of the characters are a lot deeper than one would expect. That said, the students pick these up for the pictures.
Weaknesses: It didn't seem right that Zengo and O'Malley were surprised that Jo was a female police detective. It's 2015. Nothing new.
What I really think: I hope this doesn't go longer than five books. The first two are already looking very worn out, and while they are amusing, it will hurt to have to buy the entire series twice.
Gardner, Sally. Operation Bunny (Wings and Com. #1)
February 11th 2014 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Emily Vole is found abandoned at a train station in a hatbox, and the Dashwoods, a Yuppie couple who want a child, adopt her. When she doesn't turn out to be the blonde, perfect child they want, they treat her as a servant, especially after their own triplets are born and go into commercial acting. Emily takes care of the house and children and is not educated or loved at all, until neighbor Miss String sees her out hanging laundry. Miss String and her talking (once human) cat, Fidget, step in to help with the housework and educate Emily while the triplets and Mrs. Dashwood are off working. Then, a tragedy occurs and Emily is plunged into a weird, magical world where she is needed to save the day.
Strengths: Fun, nonsensical romp in the tradition of Roald Dahl.
Weaknesses: I worry about the British and their parenting skills. Really worry. British children's books seem to have an overabundance of abandoned, abused children.
What I really thought: Would have loved this as a ten-year-old; have no readers for it. Paper-over-boards binding, which is starting to really irritate me!