Cooper, Jay. The Spy Next Door.
February 28th 2017 by Scholastic Press
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Dexter Drabner's life is not very exciting until his science teacher, Mr. McFur, is threatened by the school with the removal of his beloved pet rats. McFur is sure that he can harness the rats' farts into a source of sustainable energy, but the school doesn't want the rats around, for obvious reasons. When McFur's favorite rat, Pretty, ingests some radioactive broccoli, things get even more intense. With the help of Big K, a tough skater girl who is in charge of the Secret Spy Kids of Girder City, Dexter tries to save the city from the rats and also help Mr. McFur.
Strengths: If I had seen this without the finished art, I would have thought it was the work of Dav Pilkey. The type of characters, the drawings, the goofy sense of humor all make this a very close cousin of Captain Underpants. The school setting and Dexter's general demeanor land this squarely on the middle school side of the Pilkey Line. I may have to buy two copies of this. It will fly off the shelves as quickly as Dexter's robotic skateboard!
Weaknesses: Radioactive Rat Farts. Sigh. THERE'S a rock band name for you.
What I really think: Again, will be hugely popular with children, and it amused me more than the Wimpy Kid books. There's more plot.