From School Library Journal
Grade 3–6—This second book about the Flint Future Detectives is part mystery, part tall tale, part fantasy, and all fast-paced, zany comedy. When Russell's dog, Rodney Rodent, follows a winking gnome through a mural near the Halo Burger, Russell and his friends, Richelle and Steven, follow. They find themselves in Ourside on a porch with Mr. Chickee, who had given Steven a quadrillion-dollar bill in Mr. Chickee's Funny Money
(Random, 2005). The kids have been summoned to this alternative universe to save Ourside by understanding the prophecies of the Chronicles of Zornea-Hu, the first Old Soul. They set out to find Rodney Rodent, hiring a surly guide who leads them to H.A.L.F. Land, where the unfinished, unused characters of fiction live. Curtis's spoofing with B. T. Bowling and the Hairy Plodder books, with The Great Morose Fire-Spewing Clabbernabber, is one of the novel's hilarious highlights. The surly guide steals Great-great grampa Carter's wildly funny insulting dictionary, setting the stage for the third book. Loaded with exclamation points and full of tongue-in-cheek asides, this book will be welcomed by those who enjoyed the young detectives' first adventure. Wacky characters, improbable happenings, weird challenges, and a chaotic plot will all conspire to have readers saying, as Russell does, "GULP!"—Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
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They're baaaack! Steven and Russell, the Flint Future Detectives, return to solve another wacky magical case. Led by their new president, know-it-all Richelle Cyrus-Herndon, the smartest girl at Clark Elementary, the guys find themselves in an alternative universe called "Ourside" (Earth is "Yourside," and its people are known as "Your-o-trash"). While there, the children encounter their old friend Mr. Chickee, who entrusts them with a new mission: save the world. Impossible? Not for these kids. Led by Marvin, the surliest guide in Ourside, the intrepid detectives set off to decipher the riddles of the Chronicles of Zornea-Hu. "Abbot and Costella meet Harry Potter" is probably the best way to describe what happens, but most readers will be too busy laughing--or groaning--to care. The only thing left to say is that an inconclusive ending promises another adventure to come. Michael CartCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved