From School Library Journal
Gr 4-6–In this madcap mystery, Hunter and his twin, Zack, try to save their five-year-old brother from being kidnapped. It all begins when shakedown artist Sarah Yulefski demands $1.26 in exchange for a muddled account of what she overheard about the kidnapping of someone small enough to fit into a cage. The boys become convinced that the intended victim is Steadman. Who else of the family's six kids is that small and isn't always watched by their mother? The twins decide that the best vantage point to look out for kidnappers is in a tree, across the street from their house. The trouble is, they have other things on their minds as well. They haven't done any of their summer reading (school is four days away), they have a new sibling (whom they would like to call K.G. for Killer Godzilla), the school is getting a new principal, a pet gymnastics competition is taking place at the health club, and their dog seems to be missing. Does all this seem like a lot? It is. Some seeds of great ideas are here, but they aren't given the time to grow into a fully fleshed-out and well-plotted story, and an unevenness in the narration leads to a problem in pacing. Better stories for the target audience include Graham Salisbury's “Calvin Coconut” series or Leonore Look's “Alvin Ho” books (both Random).–Stacy Dillon, LREI, New York Cityα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
It’s Doomsday (the beginning of school) minus four, and twins Hunter and Zack have just remembered they’re supposed to read and report on three books that have changed their lives. Then they learn from a classmate that their younger brother, Steadman, may be the target of a kidnapper. Although their source is annoyingly vague, the boys take her seriously. They construct a tree-house lookout and search for clues, noting suspicious strangers in an abandoned house, the neighborhood bully poking at something hairy in the pond, and a mysterious letter intended for their mother (who is in the hospital giving birth to sibling number seven). This sequel to Hunter Moran Saves the Universe (2012) combines mystery and farce in a wild-goose-chase romp that includes late-night rendezvous in Werewolf Woods, tumbles from classroom windows, and and skateboard rides down Suicide Hill. The characters are reminiscent of Hilary McKay’s Cassons, and readers will appreciate Giff’s gentle message that even exasperating relatives (including Fred, the family’s untrained pooch, who is kidnapped) are worth defending. Grades 4-6. --Kay Weisman