Journey to the Center of Town

144p. (Class Pet Squad). Feiwel & Friends. Jun. 2016. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9781250024626.
Gr 2–4—Ever wonder who watches over P.S. 1000 at the end of the day? The Class Pet Squad! They are a no-nonsense group made up of classroom critters. Max, a hamster, leads the team. The members include a turtle named Julius, Rhonda the lizard, Suzu the bunny, and three mice called the Maestros. When a beloved, and oft-abandoned, toy is left at school, the members of the Class Pet Squad make it their mission to return the toy to its owner by bedtime. With the assistance of a nasty rat and his band of wily cockroaches, they conjure up a dog-shaped "Woof-a-Matic" to help them. The pen and ink drawings are clean and modern, and the writing is amusing and accessible. While the characters are somewhat corny, younger readers will root for them. The message of teamwork is highly emphasized, yet the resolution is somewhat tame. Readers seeking more involved stories of animal teamwork will be better off with Cynthia Rylant's Gooseberry Park series.
VERDICT A humorous tale of animal teamwork that will appeal to newly independent readers.

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