From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6-This meandering and disappointing mystery takes place in a town called Mt. Mole, which was built on a small volcano. When Mr. Farley, the despised assistant principal, disappears, no one cares except 12-year-old Andy, who sets out to find him. The plot is predictable, and it's difficult to care about the many characters and their plights. There is little depth or spark beyond their clever names-Dr. Blemish, Miss Fleece, and Mrs. Bagelbottom-and the nonstop, goofy monikers such as the Knott Hungry Cafe and the Butcher Beauty School are likely to bring groans rather than laughs. The ending is weak, with Andy discovering that this unlikable man is his father, a fact that his mother dismisses by saying, "That was a long time ago." A thin, uninvolving story that lacks resolution.JoAnn Jonas, Chula Vista Public Library, San Diego, CA
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Gr. 6-9. Quirky
is the operative word for Jennings' previous novels, and this one is possibly the most outrageously imaginative yet. The curious cover photo--a grasshopper, a pile of popcorn, and a piece of plaid fabric--sets the tone for not one mystery as the title implies, but three: What happened to Mr. Farley, Mt. Mole Middle School's disagreeable assistant principal? What's that rumbling issuing from Mt. Mole, the odd, solitary mound rising from the flatlands surrounding the town that takes its name? And who is Andrew J. Forrest's father? Precocious, 13-year-old Andy, whose vocabulary and dreamy philosophizing makes him seem like a grown-up stuck in middle school by mistake (except when pretty Georgia Wayne is around) is the narrator here, a bumbling, truly dedicated fan of both Mt. Mole and the odd characters (Andy being one himself) who live there. Before the separate stories come together in one literally slam-bang conclusion, readers are treated to lots of tongue-in-cheek humor and some genuine surprises revolving around the larger-than-life Mt. Mole populace and the small town in which they live. It's a large-hearted entertaining burlesque, set in a world apart yet still very recognizable. Stephanie ZvirinCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved