Reviews for Farewell, My Lunchbag : From the Tattered Casebook of Chet Gecko, Private Eye


Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 March 2001
Gr. 2-5. A food snatcher is running amuck, and detective Chet Gecko has been enlisted to find the culprit. The lunchroom manager at Chet's elementary school wants the problem resolved as quickly as possible, so Chet and his assistant, Natalie, interview a few suspects. They investigate the cafeteria, too, but Chet can't take fingerprints--he's still waiting for his mail-order Dr. Fingertip Fingerprint Kit. The friends decide the best tactic is to stake out the cafeteria with a camera. But plans go awry, and Chet is framed. Readers looking for an offbeat mystery will appreciate how the Gecko good guy gets himself out of hot water. They'll also find his malapropisms and one-line zingers hilarious. All in all, this has just the right combination of wacky elements to keep the plot going, with Hale's own lively cartoon drawings adding lots of visual appeal. ((Reviewed March 15, 2001)) Copyright 2001 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2001 Fall
Framed for stealing food from the cafeteria and sentenced to a lifetime of detention and years of dishwashing duty, Chet Gecko, a grade-school private eye, sets out to clear his name with the help of his mockingbird partner Natalie Attired. The quirky mystery plays with hard-boiled detective fiction conventions and includes loads of puns, gags, and goofy one-liners. Cartoonlike illustrations add to the humor. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 2001 March #1
Green-tailed gumshoe Chet Gecko's outsized appetite really gets him into hot water in his latest caper. Someone is pilfering supplies from Emerson Hickey Elementary's pantry. Chet's attempt to nab the phantom nosher backfires when he inhales a drugged pillbug muffin and wakes up amidst a plethora of evidence pointing to him as the culprit. It's a frame-up, but can he clear his name--not to mention escape a lifetime of detention--when even pun-loving avian sidekick Natalie Attired is giving him the cold shoulder? The redoubtable reptile's in a real pickle. Luckily, Hale dishes up plenty of clues, while setting the table for a wild climactic ruckus involving Chet, Natalie, custodian/mongoose Maureen DeBree, and two king cobras hiding out in the heating ductswhile hatching both a clutch of eggs and a plot to take over the school. Occasional illustrations depicting a hard-boiled animal cast add atmosphere. It's literary fast food with no caloric consequences, and the incessant wordplay, plus the way everyone receives (what else?) just deserts, will give readers an appetite for more. (Fiction. 9-11) Copyright 2001 Kirkus Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2001 May #3
In the third adventure of the reptilian gumshoe, Farewell, My Lunchbag by Bruce Hale, a follow-up to The Chameleon Wore Chartreuse and The Mystery of Mr. Nice, Chet Gecko searches out a food thief in the cafeteria (school lunches must be improving). ( Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2001 April
Gr 3-6-Children will likely appreciate Hale's relentless punning in this anthropomorphized detective series featuring a Raymond Chandler/Woody Allen literary blend in a fourth-grader/gecko guise. Here, it seems that someone is stealing food from the school cafeteria and Chet Gecko is hot on the trail of the thief. Mrs. Bagoong, an iguana with cheeks "soft as AstroTurf," who serves mothloaf and cockroach quiche, will be put out of business if the culprit isn't caught. Natalie Attired is Chet's mockingbird assistant, and Erik Nidd plays the role of a tough sixth-grade tarantula. Metaphors and similes work overtime in this detective/lizard world and, while geared toward an eager juvenile audience, Farewell will leave adults aching from laughter at the jokes kids will miss and from groans for the gross ones youngsters will love. This latest "Chet Gecko" tale is not only fodder for budding criminologists and stand-up comedians but may also provide inspiration for future zoologists. Hale's drawings are serviceable but they don't give much visual punch to the sassy prose.-John Sigwald, Unger Memorial Library, Plainview, TX Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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