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“There’s nothing I hate more than soggy socks! Except for crime and villainy—but soggy socks come close!” General Inspector. – Investigators Take the Plunge
Investigators Take the Plunge
by John Patrick Green
Good for Reluctant Readers, Graphic Novel
Investigators Brash and Mango go undercover in order to intercept a rocket that carries the stolen code for the Combinotron—a device that can stick any two things together. Instead of destroying the code, the investigators accidentally download the code into a robot that has been programmed to hug people. After a freak accident, the robot is able to travel through electricity. And every time the robot hugs someone, that person combines with whatever they are touching.
When Crackerdile learns about the Combinotron, he is determined to steal the code. In his current state—being part cracker and part alligator—Crackerdile is in danger of being dissolved or eaten. Crackerdile hopes to use the Combinotron to merge with metal. Will Crackerdile be able to steal the code, or can Brash and Mango thwart him off?
Investigators Take the Plunge is an imaginative graphic novel that is laugh-out-loud funny. The combination of human and animal characters blend to mix into a ridiculous story that uses wordplay to add humor. Even though some of the humor revolves around Brash’s need to go to the bathroom, the bathroom humor is never gross. As Brash and Mango work the case, they use fun spy gadgets, compete against a team of badger agents, flood the sewers, and are responsible for unleashing an evil villain.
The imaginative story comes alive in brightly-colored artwork that shows the characters’ wide range of emotions. The text is large and uses different font sizes, which help emphasize the characters’ emotions as well as important aspects of the story. Similar to superhero comics, the story contains onomatopoeias such as crash, bwonk, and foosh. Another positive aspect is that the human scientists are a diverse group of characters who have a wide range of skin tones.
The illustrations and the unique storyline with Brash and Mango will appeal to even the most reluctant readers. Each page has 3 to 11 sentences per page. The sentences range from one word to more complex sentences. The varied sentence lengths add to the humor while keeping the story accessible to all readers.
Investigators Take the Plunge will appeal to many readers because honestly, who doesn’t want to see two alligator investigators wreak havoc? The story is unique, full of slapstick humor, and contains a non-frightening villain. Readers who enjoy humorous graphic novels that border on the ridiculous should add Mac B. Kid Spy by Mac Barnett and Two Dogs in a Trench Coat by Julie Falatko to their reading list.
- A doctor is upset when “the robot ghosts! It came out of my TB and then lunged at me! There was a flash of light and I must have passed out. When I came to, the Robot Ghost was gone, but I discovered I had. . .banana hands!”
- A doctor is “combined with the salad I was eating for dinner” when “the Robot Ghost came out of my lamp and attacked me!”
- When two members of the S.U.I.T—who are badgers—try to stop the Robot Ghost, the ghost zaps them and the badgers are turned into “badger badges.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- The villain’s mission is “the Total Annihilation of Idiot Law-doers!”
- A scientist yells, “Get ya butt in here!”
- Drat is used as an exclamation once.
- A scientist changes “from mild-mannered brain surgeon Dr. Jake Hardbones into the Action News Now helicopter in the sky.”
- The Combinotron is a device that can “stick any two things together!” The Combinotron’s code accidentally gets downloaded into a robot that likes to hug. When the robot hugs someone, the person is combined with whatever they are touching. The robot can move through electrical outlets.
- After being hugged by a robot, a plumber combines with a snake, making the anaconda his arm.
- The Crackerdile is an alligator that has been combined with a saltine cracker.