From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8–The intrepid detectives from Whales on Stilts!
(Harcourt, 2005) return in another off-the-wall send-up of the Stratemeyer-style series fiction. Jasper, Katie, and Lily are off to the Moose Tongue Lodge and Resort for a short vacation. They discover that the inn is currently hosting a collection of other series characters, including the air-headed Cutesy Dell Twins (shades of Sweet Valley High); the blockheaded Manley Boys; and sad, one-book Eddie Wax, in perpetual mourning for his horse Stumpy. The mystery-solving Hooper Quints go missing, as do most of the lodge's hunting trophies and an heirloom diamond necklace belonging to one of the guests. Search parties are organized, and Jasper and Lily are keen to join in. Katie, however, prefers to hang out by the pool with the Twins. Unexpected dangers await the searchers, from gun-toting kidnappers to poisonous snakes to hungry wolves. Meanwhile, back at the Lodge….The episodic and determinedly nonlinear plot is amusing, but the real fun here is the dialogue–a wild and wonderful mélange of 1950s series-speak (Jupiter's moons!), Valley speak, adolescent trash talk, and mock heroics. As in Lemony Snicket's Unfortunate Events series (HarperCollins), the author frequently addresses readers directly with suggestions, hints, and comments. Underneath all the craziness, there is a subtle and surprisingly poignant message about growth, change, and friendship.–Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL
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*Starred Review* Gr. 4-7. Great Scott! The author of Whales on Stilts
(2005) has dashed off a swell sequel, featuring an expanded cast of ersatz Stratemeyer syndicate stars--from the Cutesy Dell Twins and the stupid, hunky Manley Boys to the "adorable mystery-solving Hooper Quints." In this episode, Jasper Dash, Boy Technonaut; Katie Mulligan ("known for combating evil wherever it shambles and drools"); and shy but canny Lily Gefilte leave aptly named Horror Hollow for a bit of R&R at remote Moose Tongue Lodge--only to be swept up, thanks to a supposed kidnapping and a putative robbery, into any number of encounters with wolves, steep cliffs, and oddball adults, as well as hilariously inane conversations with fellow vacationers. Tucking in friendship issues, hyperconvenient clues and red herrings (both figurative and literal), and the occasional book ad, footnote, or personal comment, Anderson leaves no trope untripped in bringing the newest of his Thrilling Tales series to its postdenouement ski party and happy ending. Never has the Hardy Boys-Nancy Drew axis been knocked further or more delightfully askew. John PetersCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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