Space Detectives: Extra Weird Creatures

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Halfway up a skyscraper in a fancy district of Starville (a gigantic space station, home to a million humans and aliens living under a giant glass dome), Ethan and Connor’s Space Detectives office is open for business.

Unfortunately, after saving Starville from a collision course with the moon in Space Detectives (book one in the series), business for the boys has been rather slow. That is, until Mrs Plum knocks on their door with her son Felix, who has grown an extra head.

In fact, it turns out that it’s not just Felix who has this problem: loads of Starville residents have extra heads and limbs, and the local dog has three tails. Determined to find out what’s going on, Ethan and Connor’s investigations take them to FluffyCorp, a corporation with a giant tiger in a business suit at the helm which has been dabbling in genetic engineering. Will the Space Detectives be able to restore order to Starville, or will FluffyCorp, aided by evil granny Isabella Pokeweed, win the day?

Powers’ and Adeola’s second book in this illustrated series, ideal for newly independent readers, is delightfully fast paced, silly and beautifully illustrated in black and white. Despite being an accessible, short read, there are plenty of original and brilliant touches: such as FluffyCorp’s piano-playing pig, Kieron, that refuses to play cheery nursery rhymes and prefers the blues instead, or evil granny Isabella’s pitiless sacrifice of her granddaughter’s bakery business for the chance at a luxury cruise.

As well as plenty of laughs and brilliant space-themed scene-setting, there’s also a serious theme here about the power of genetic engineering and its positive and negative implications.

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