“‘Squirrels have been mugging people.’ Miss Fortress put down her cup and opened a desk drawer. ‘Attacking people on the streets and stealing their phones.’
…’That sounds crazy,’ said Jess.
‘That sounds awesome,’ I said. ‘Ninja squirrels.’”
Selected for the Summer Reading Challenge 2018, Jennifer Killick’s Alex Sparrow and the Furry Fury is the humour-driven follow-up to her debut, Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink. The story continues pretty much where the first one left off, with Alex and his fellow agent Jess retaining their strange superpowers to detect and solve crime. It’s not essential to have read the first Alex Sparrow (though I recommend you do!) as this story is a standalone. Its focus is on the animal sanctuary where Jess volunteers – it makes sense as her superpower is being able to communicate with animals. When Dexter, the secret agent pigeon, tells Jess animals are acting strangely, Alex is excited to have a new mission and he too starts volunteering at the sanctuary to investigate. With his superpower of a farting ear, Alex is quickly alerted to any stinking lie, and he and Jess realise all is not what it seems at the sanctuary…
The story is jam-packed with pithy dialogue and down-right funny situations. Alex’s enthusiasm is kept in check by Jess’ more realistic – and withering – take on whatever predicaments they land in. The addition of the thoroughly adorable Mr Prickles, the little hedgehog, and the continued drama of Bob the goldfish moving in with his goldfish girlfriend, Elle, enhance the story hugely. Alex’s friendship with them is truly touching.
The humour is pinned down by gripping intrigue and mounting clues in the style of true detective fiction. Just who is the dodgy-sounding The Rattler? What’s The Storm that’s coming? Why are the foxes making that terrible racket? And what’s the deal with new boy Rex whose mum runs the sanctuary? Jennifer Killick effortlessly keeps the reader guessing and the pages turning.
Exploring friendship, both the human and the animal kind, Alex Sparrow and the Furry Fury is snortingly good fun – especially if Alex has just told a lie that’s made his ear fart. As Jess says early on: “The Professor gave us powers for a reason.” And, with the help of a menagerie of quirky characters, the reason is clear: to save the day – having as much fun as possible along the way.