Reviewed for Readers' Favorite.
In Who Stole the Zmulobeast, Keith A. Owens introduces young readers to Spike, the dog. Spike is not your average dog because Spike can talk. A member of the Pi in the Sky Squad, Spike and his human friends take readers on a journey to save the Zmulobeast, a gift from the home planet of Zippy, an alien and one of the Pi Squad’s cohorts.
The journey begins with a rumor that the Zmulobeast is missing and the Squad’s determination to find the creature. But things do not go smoothly, as no one has ever seen a Zmulobeast! The investigation leads Maria and Spike to seek out information at a local park. There, they discover a series of strange clues. It appears the creature has the feet of a rabbit, wings of gold, multi-colored fur, and--it can fly! Spike later discovers that the abductors may be taking the beast to Phoenix, Arizona. Following the snatchers’ trail, Spike and the Pi Squad, with its single adult leader, Chief, eventually take off in their Pi-Mobile in hopes of rescuing the Zmulobeast from the grasp of Boris Greedy, the Chief’s long time nemesis.
Young readers will find, in Who Stole the Zmulobeast, both a mystery and a fantasy. A talking dog is hard to resist and one with Spike’s sense of humor even more so. The characters are well drawn and interesting, from Maria, the young but skilled investigator, to Stool Pigeon, who is always falling asleep, to Arthur, who cannot resist doing the “Arthur dance” whenever he has accomplished something. With such rich characters, and an otherworldly beast to track and to save, middle graders will flock to Who Stole the Zmulobeast and it is certain that they will anxiously await each addition to the story.
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