A zippy graphic-novel series opener featuring two comically bumbling reptile detectives.
As agents of SUIT (Special Undercover Investigation Team) with customized VESTs (Very Exciting Spy Technology) boasting the latest gadgetry, the bright green InvestiGators Mango and Brash receive their newest assignment. The reptilian duo must go undercover at the Batter Down bakery to find missing mustachioed Chef Gustavo and his secret recipes. Before long, the pair find themselves embroiled in a strange and busy plot with a scientist chicken, a rabid were-helicopter, an escape-artist dinosaur, and radioactive cracker dough. Despite the great number of disparate threads, Green manages to tie up most neatly, leaving just enough intrigue for subsequent adventures. Nearly every panel has a joke, including puns (“gator done!”), poop jokes, and pop-culture references (eagle-eyed older readers will certainly pick up on the 1980s song references), promising to make even the most stone-faced readers dissolve into giggles. Green’s art is as vibrant as an overturned box of crayons and as highly spirited as a Saturday-morning cartoon. Fast pacing and imaginative plotting (smattered with an explosion here, a dance number there) propel the action through a whimsical world in which a diverse cast of humans live alongside anthropomorphized reptiles and dinosaurs. With its rampant good-natured goofiness and its unrelenting fizz and pep, this feels like a sugar rush manifested as a graphic novel.Silly and inventive fast-paced fun . (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)
World-famous cupcake maker Gustavo Mustachio hasn't been seen in two weeks, and Mango and Brash, two alligators--wearing V.E.S.T. (Very Exciting Spy Technology) for their work with S.U.I.T. (Special Undercover Investigation Teams)--are dispatched to Gustavo's bakery, Batter Down, to find out more. Brash is level-headed, buoyant Mango can't resist puns and wordplay ("We're alligators. SNAPPY is what we do best!"), and both dive into toilets and travel through city sewers in service of the case. As the head scientist at the Science Factory across town prepares to announce a great discovery, a mysterious customer delivers a giant birthday cake from Batter Down, leading to the Science Factory's explosion and adding another facet to the mystery. Helicopters, many-armed gadgets, and wild schemes proliferate this graphic novel series opener as origin stories explain characters' behavior (and occasionally slow the story's frenetic pace). In high-intensity colors, straightforward panel artwork by Green (Hippopot-a-mister) offers plenty of slapstick gags to Brash and Mango's tale. Fast-paced fun for the bad pun and dorky joke crowd: "Now let's flush ourselves down the nearest toilet and GATER DONE!" Ages 7-10. (Feb.)Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Gr 2-5--In the first installment of what promises to be a wildly successful graphic novel series, Green ("Kitten Construction Company") once again shows off his knack for pun-filled animal tales. Alligators Mango and Brash are friends and secret agents for S.U.I.T. (Special Undercover Investigator Teams), tasked with solving their first case: finding Chef Mustachio, who went missing just before he was about to unveil his latest concoction. These masters of disguise are off and running. But when there's an explosion at the Science Factory, the duo are asked to look into that mystery, too. No matter where they go, Mango and Brash blend in seamlessly with humans who somehow never notice that they are interacting with alligators who sport vests outfitted with gadgets. Jokes, especially visual puns ("Badges?" "We're not badgers, we're alligators!") and toilet humor, come fast and furious, and the clean, simple cartoon art and paneled layout are easy to follow. Kids who are tickled by Green's irreverent humor will appreciate the drawing tips that conclude the book. VERDICT Like the heroes of Dav Pilkey's "Dog Man" or "Captain Underpants," the Investigators are bound to resonate with kids.--Nancy McKay, Byron Public Library, ILCopyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.