Mr. Chickee's Messy Mission
Mr. Chickee's Messy Mission

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Annotation: The Flint Future Detective Club members chase a gnome into a mural, only to find the mysterious Mr. Chickee on the other side.
Catalog Number: #13738
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Dell Yearling
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition Date: 2008
Pages: 230 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-440-22922-7 Perma-Bound: 0-605-12259-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-440-22922-3 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-12259-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2006026690
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
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 groaning care. The only thing left to say is that an inconclusive ending promises another adventure to come.
Horn Book
Fans of Mr. Chickee's Funny Money are reunited with the Flint Future Detectives, who find themselves pulled through a mural and into a strange world where Russell must contend with a giant teddy bear to reclaim his dog. A smart-alecky magical dictionary, references to George Clinton lyrics and "Hairy Plodder," and gross-out humor that's actually funny all feature in this literary joyride.
Kirkus Reviews
The Flint Future Detectives return and, along with their newest member, Richelle Cyrus-Herndon, follow Russell's dog through a wall mural into Ourside. There they meet Mr. Chickee again and set off on a mission to determine which one of them is the Old Soul who can help stave off an impending disaster to that parallel world. In the process, they meet Harry Plodder's Mummy, who reveals the rest of the solution to the mystery of the quadrillion-dollar bill they found in Mr. Chickee's Funny Money (2005), and Russell travels through the world of author Buster B. Bayliss, through a blizzard and a mosquito-filled north woods in an effort to kill the deadly Ursa Theodora-Saura. Chock full of references to farts and boogers, as well as familiar children's book tropes, this disappointing sequel is clearly aimed at small boys. The last third is seven-year-old Russell's solo adventure. Fantasy, adventure and satire combine, but there is no coherent story arc to carry the reader from beginning to end. Readers will need to have read the first of the series to understand the characters and to go on to future volumes to see how this story ends. (Fiction. 8-11)
School Library Journal
Gr 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 Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Voice of Youth Advocates
This celebrated author brings back the Flint Future Detectives, Steven and Russell, first met in Mr. Chickee's Funny Money (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House, 2005), and hurls them into another fast-paced, wild adventure. Literarily launched into a wacky mission, the preteens deal with a cranky animated dictionary, a mini-dog named Rodney Rodent, and a mural on the Halo Burger wall that has been spooking folks since 1932. The Detectives are stunned when Rodney charges the mural barking out the Atomic Dog signature line-Bow-wow-wow-yippee-yo-yippee-yay! The diminutive pup flings himself into the painting, and the evil gnome in the corner of the painting turns and winks at Steven. What else is there to do but chant the old-school lyrics, plunge into the mural, discover what is going on, and rescue Rod? The mural is a portal to a parallel universe called Ourside, which is different than Yourside. In this weird world, characters and authors from all books have taken up residence, including B. T. Bowling who wrote Harry Plodder. Marked by outrageous scenes of chomping globs of mosquitoes, uttering groan-out-loud malapropisms (how many is a Brazilian?), and tween-age gross-outs (cheeseburgers smothered with olives are a delicacy), the story flies along. Curtis mixes in music from Motown, street slang, and vaudeville slapstick in this somewhat of a tall tale that hints of the Wizard of Oz and is more suited to younger ages. The author's name will draw readers, but there is an age-interest ceiling to this work. It is doubtful any reader older than thirteen will find it appealing.-Rolllie Welch.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (2/1/07)
Horn Book (8/1/07)
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal
Voice of Youth Advocates
Wilson's Children's Catalog
Word Count: 50,335
Reading Level: 5.6
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.6 / points: 8.0 / quiz: 112464 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:7.6 / points:14.0 / quiz:Q40787
Lexile: 870L

Steven Daemon Carter thought there was about a 75% chance that it was his name that was being called. But he'd learned before that that wasn't quite high enough. It wasn't worth going through all the trouble of waking yourself up and answering unless you were somewhere around 88 to 90% sure that some annoying parent was trying to ruin another good night's sleep.
A few seconds later he was about 85.2% sure that his father was calling him. Close, but no cigar. But 85.2% was the level when Steven would start grumbling about having a good dream interrupted and would begin pulling sheets and pillows and covers over his ears.
Now, that was 100%!
All sleep and all grumbling and all dreams and pretty much all sheet and pillow pulling came to a dead stop.
"Yes, Dad?"
"Are you up?"
"Really," Steven thought, "what kind of a question is that? Does he think Zoopy has learned how to talk? Does he think . . ."
"Yes, Dad! I'm up!"
"No! Get up now!"
Steven and his father had different definitions of the word up. In Dad's eyes up meant Steven had cleaned his room . . . okay, okay, had cleaned his room by shoving things under his bed, had brushed his teeth . . . all right, all right, had thought about brushing his teeth, had washed his face . . . I know, I know, had wet at least one of his fingers to wipe the gray, lumpy gunk out of the corners of his eyes, was dressed and was anxiously standing in his doorway waiting to do whatever Dad wanted him to do.
In Steven's eyes up was being awake enough to know he needed another two or three hours' sleep.
But as Dad loved saying to his son, "When you start paying the rent around here, you can start saying what definitions are."
Steven squinched his left eye shut, pulled the pillow from his face and got ready to let the morning's brightness come into his right eye. Only problem was when he opened his right eye, it saw nothing but darkness.
"I can't believe it! It's still dark outside! How early is he getting me up this time?"
His right eye looked at the alarm clock. What it saw was so shocking that he had to unsquinch his left eye to make sure this was real.
It was. The red numbers glared 4:21 a.m.!
Now Steven was really up!
"D-a-a-a-d! Do you know what time it is?" he yelled from under his pillow.
"Ste-e-e-ven! Have you looked outside?"
Dad was doing it again! He would never allow his son to answer a question with a question, but he sure liked doing it himself.
Steven clomped to his window and pulled the curtain aside. It was unbelievable! This was the eighth time in two weeks that exactly two feet of snow had covered everything outside. Everything, that is, in the Carters' yard and their two next-door neighbors' yards. The odd thing was, once again, it looked like these were the only houses in the neighborhood that had more than just a coating of snow on them.
An even odder thing was that that same confused Canada goose was flying circles around the house again. Every time they got one of these weird snowstorms, this weird goose would show up too.
"Hmmm," he said, watching the goose, "aren't geese supposed to fly in a V, not an O? Oh, well."
Now, two feet of snow on only three houses and a goose flying the wrong letter might seem like the kinds of mysteries that Steven, the president of the Flint Future Detectives, might want to investigate. But he couldn't be bothered, he had much more important things on his mind. Things like how could he get even with Dad for getting him up so early. Things like exactly how much longer he was going to be able to stay as president of the Flint Future Detectives. Things like how unfair it was that he was the one who was going to have to go out and shovel. It was bad enough that he had to do his family's sidewalk and porch and driveway, what was worse was that Dad made him go shovel out both neighbors too.
Steven flopped back onto his bed. "Dad, it's too early. I'll do it later."
"Okay, mister! That's it!"
These were never good words to hear from Dad, especially when Steven's room looked like it did now. He jumped up and had half of last week's clothes stuffed under his bed before his bedroom door exploded open.
Dad said, "As of . . ."--he looked at his watch--"four-twenty-two a.m., Friday, November the tenth, you are banned from ever saying 'I'll do it later.' From this day until the time you introduce me to my first grandchild, when you want to say 'I'll do it later,' you will instead sing the first nine words of 'Home on the Range,' after which you will give a good old cowboy 'Yee-haw!', slap the ground twice and scream out, 'Bra-zohs!' "
Dad made him do these weird, embarrassing things to discourage him from being so repetitious.
"Man," Steven thought, "these word-substitute thingies are getting way too complicated. Maybe I should make a list of what I say too much and work on not saying the same things over and over."
He was just about to start the list but then thought, "Naah, I'll do it late . . . oops!"
Before he could start singing "Home on the Range," Dad said, "It's time you started showing a little more conscientiousness around here, young man, do you understand?"
Steven thought, "Are you kidding? I bet not even Richelle Cyrus-Herndon knows what that word means, and she's the smartest kid at Clark Elementary School."
He knew better than to tell his father that he had no idea what conscientiousness meant. That would cause another trip to look up the word in Great-great-grampa Carter's bad-dispositioned dictionary, something he really wasn't trying to do at any time, especially not at four-something in the morning. Oh yeah, the dictionary would give definitions, but only after it had insulted and disrespected Steven on its copyright page.

Excerpted from Mr. Chickee's Messy Mission by Christopher Paul Curtis
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Steven and his best friend Russell are back!

When Russell's dog, Rodney Rodent, jumps into a mural to chase a demonic-looking gnome and disappears, the Flint Future Detectives are on the case. With the secret password (Bow-wow-wow yippee yo yippee yay!) Steven, Richelle, and Russell enter the mural too, only to find the mysterious Mr. Chickee on the other side. To find a way out, the detectives must complete a mission—finding Rodney Rodent. And that means they're in some wild adventure!

As Steven says, "I second that emotion."

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