Cover image for Mr. Chickee's messy mission
Mr. Chickee's messy mission
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Wendy Lamb Books, c2007.
Physical Description:
230 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
Reading Level:
870 L Lexile
Geographic Term:
Flint Future Detective Club members Steven Carter and his friends Russell and Richelle follow Russell's dog, Rodney Rodent, into a mural to chase a demonic-looking gnome, only to find the mysterious Mr. Chickee on the other side.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available

On Order



Steven and his best friend Russell are back!

When Russell's dog, Rodney Rodent, jumps into a mural to chase a demonic-looking gnome and disappears, the Flint Future Detectives are on the case. With the secret password (Bow-wow-wow yippee yo yippee yay!) Steven, Richelle, and Russell enter the mural too, only to find the mysterious Mr. Chickee on the other side. To find a way out, the detectives must complete a mission--finding Rodney Rodent. And that means they're in some wild adventure!

As Steven says, "I second that emotion."

Author Notes

Newbery Medal-winning children's book author Christopher Paul Curtis was born in Flint, Michigan on May 10, 1953 and graduated from The University of Michigan. While there he won the Avery and Jules Hopwood Prizes for poetry and a draft of one of his early books. Curtis spent thirteen years on an assembly line hanging car doors.

His story The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 received a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor, and Bud, Not Buddy became the first novel to win both of these awards. Elijah of Buxton received the 2008 Scott O'Dell Historical Fiction Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, and a Newbery Honor. Curtis also won the 2009 Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Infused with the same high energy found in Mr. Chickee's Funny Money, this second installment of the Flint Future Detectives series offers even zanier adventures with mixed results. Steven Carter and Russell Woods allow a new member into their sleuthing clan: Richelle Cyrus-Herndon, "the smartest kid at Clark Elementary," whose intelligence is as irritating (at least to Steven) as it is useful. The trio's first mission is to find the whereabouts of Rodney Rodent, Russell's tiny lost dog, who Russell believes disappeared inside a "horrible, frightening" mural advertising Vernor's ginger ale. Following the canine's path, the children soon find themselves entering an alternate universe where Steven's dear friend, Mr. Chickee, is waiting to greet them. According to Mr. Chickee, the magical place he calls "Ourside"-which holds as many surprises as Alice's Wonderland-is in danger of dying, and it's up to the Flint Future Detectives to prevent such a disaster. The novel's fast-paced action, hip dialogue, wacky characters and tangential commentaries (including some gentle jabs at J.K. Rowling) add some spice, but occasionally readers may find themselves yearning for fewer gimmicks and more connections between seemingly random events. Ages 9-12. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

Fans of Mr. Chickee's Funny Money are reunited with the Flint Future Detectives, who find themselves pulled through a mural and into a strange world where Russell must contend with a giant teddy bear to reclaim his dog. A smart-alecky magical dictionary, references to George Clinton lyrics and ""Hairy Plodder,"" and gross-out humor that's actually funny all feature in this literary joyride. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

They're baaaack! Steven and Russell, the Flint Future Detectives, return to solve another wacky magical case. Led by their new president, know-it-all Richelle Cyrus-Herndon, the smartest girl at Clark Elementary, the guys find themselves in an alternative universe called Ourside (Earth is Yourside, and its people are known as Your-o-trash ). While there, the children encounter their old friend Mr. Chickee, who entrusts them with a new mission: save the world. Impossible? Not for these kids. Led by Marvin, the surliest guide in Ourside, the intrepid detectives set off to decipher the riddles of the Chronicles of Zornea-Hu. Abbot and Costella meet Harry Potter is probably the best way to describe what happens, but most readers will be too busy laughing--or groaning--to care. The only thing left to say is that an inconclusive ending promises another adventure to come. --Michael Cart Copyright 2007 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-This second book about the Flint Future Detectives is part mystery, part tall tale, part fantasy, and all fast-paced, zany comedy. When Russell's dog, Rodney Rodent, follows a winking gnome through a mural near the Halo Burger, Russell and his friends, Richelle and Steven, follow. They find themselves in Ourside on a porch with Mr. Chickee, who had given Steven a quadrillion-dollar bill in Mr. Chickee's Funny Money (Random, 2005). The kids have been summoned to this alternative universe to save Ourside by understanding the prophecies of the Chronicles of Zornea-Hu, the first Old Soul. They set out to find Rodney Rodent, hiring a surly guide who leads them to H.A.L.F. Land, where the unfinished, unused characters of fiction live. Curtis's spoofing with B. T. Bowling and the Hairy Plodder books, with The Great Morose Fire-Spewing Clabbernabber, is one of the novel's hilarious highlights. The surly guide steals Great-great grampa Carter's wildly funny insulting dictionary, setting the stage for the third book. Loaded with exclamation points and full of tongue-in-cheek asides, this book will be welcomed by those who enjoyed the young detectives' first adventure. Wacky characters, improbable happenings, weird challenges, and a chaotic plot will all conspire to have readers saying, as Russell does, "GULP!"-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

The Flint Future Detectives return and, along with their newest member, Richelle Cyrus-Herndon, follow Russell's dog through a wall mural into Ourside. There they meet Mr. Chickee again and set off on a mission to determine which one of them is the Old Soul who can help stave off an impending disaster to that parallel world. In the process, they meet Harry Plodder's Mummy, who reveals the rest of the solution to the mystery of the quadrillion-dollar bill they found in Mr. Chickee's Funny Money (2005), and Russell travels through the world of author Buster B. Bayliss, through a blizzard and a mosquito-filled north woods in an effort to kill the deadly Ursa Theodora-Saura. Chock full of references to farts and boogers, as well as familiar children's book tropes, this disappointing sequel is clearly aimed at small boys. The last third is seven-year-old Russell's solo adventure. Fantasy, adventure and satire combine, but there is no coherent story arc to carry the reader from beginning to end. Readers will need to have read the first of the series to understand the characters and to go on to future volumes to see how this story ends. (Fiction. 8-11) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.



Steven Daemon Carter thought there was about a 75% chance that it was his name that was being called. But he'd learned before that that wasn't quite high enough. It wasn't worth going through all the trouble of waking yourself up and answering unless you were somewhere around 88 to 90% sure that some annoying parent was trying to ruin another good night's sleep. A few seconds later he was about 85.2% sure that his father was calling him. Close, but no cigar. But 85.2% was the level when Steven would start grumbling about having a good dream interrupted and would begin pulling sheets and pillows and covers over his ears. "STEVEN DAEMON CARTER!" Now, that was 100%! All sleep and all grumbling and all dreams and pretty much all sheet and pillow pulling came to a dead stop. "Yes, Dad?" "Are you up?" "Really," Steven thought, "what kind of a question is that? Does he think Zoopy has learned how to talk? Does he think . . ." "STE-E-VEN!" "Yes, Dad! I'm up!" "No! Get up now!" Steven and his father had different definitions of the word up. In Dad's eyes up meant Steven had cleaned his room . . . okay, okay, had cleaned his room by shoving things under his bed, had brushed his teeth . . . all right, all right, had thought about brushing his teeth, had washed his face . . . I know, I know, had wet at least one of his fingers to wipe the gray, lumpy gunk out of the corners of his eyes, was dressed and was anxiously standing in his doorway waiting to do whatever Dad wanted him to do. In Steven's eyes up was being awake enough to know he needed another two or three hours' sleep. But as Dad loved saying to his son, "When you start paying the rent around here, you can start saying what definitions are." Steven squinched his left eye shut, pulled the pillow from his face and got ready to let the morning's brightness come into his right eye. Only problem was when he opened his right eye, it saw nothing but darkness. "I can't believe it! It's still dark outside! How early is he getting me up this time?" His right eye looked at the alarm clock. What it saw was so shocking that he had to unsquinch his left eye to make sure this was real. It was. The red numbers glared 4:21 a.m.! Now Steven was really up! "D-a-a-a-d! Do you know what time it is?" he yelled from under his pillow. "Ste-e-e-ven! Have you looked outside?" Dad was doing it again! He would never allow his son to answer a question with a question, but he sure liked doing it himself. Steven clomped to his window and pulled the curtain aside. It was unbelievable! This was the eighth time in two weeks that exactly two feet of snow had covered everything outside. Everything, that is, in the Carters' yard and their two next-door neighbors' yards. The odd thing was, once again, it looked like these were the only houses in the neighborhood that had more than just a coating of snow on them. An even odder thing was that that same confused Canada goose was flying circles around the house again. Every time they got one of these weird snowstorms, this weird goose would show up too. "Hmmm," he said, watching the goose, "aren't geese supposed to fly in a V, not an O? Oh, well." Now, two feet of snow on only three houses and a goose flying the wrong letter might seem like the kinds of mysteries that Steven, the president of the Flint Future Detectives, might want to investigate. But he couldn't be bothered, he had much more important things on his mind. Things like how could he get even with Dad for getting him up so early. Things like exactly how much longer he was going to be able to stay as president of the Flint Future Detectives. Things like how unfair it was that he was the one who was going to have to go out and shovel. It was bad enough that he had to do his family's sidewalk and porch and driveway, what was worse was that Dad made him go shovel out both neighbors too. Steven flopped back onto his bed. "Dad, it's too early. I'll do it later." "Okay, mister! That's it!" These were never good words to hear from Dad, especially when Steven's room looked like it did now. He jumped up and had half of last week's clothes stuffed under his bed before his bedroom door exploded open. Dad said, "As of . . ."--he looked at his watch--"four-twenty-two a.m., Friday, November the tenth, you are banned from ever saying 'I'll do it later.' From this day until the time you introduce me to my first grandchild, when you want to say 'I'll do it later,' you will instead sing the first nine words of 'Home on the Range,' after which you will give a good old cowboy 'Yee-haw!', slap the ground twice and scream out, 'Bra-zohs!' " Dad made him do these weird, embarrassing things to discourage him from being so repetitious. "Man," Steven thought, "these word-substitute thingies are getting way too complicated. Maybe I should make a list of what I say too much and work on not saying the same things over and over." He was just about to start the list but then thought, "Naah, I'll do it late . . . oops!" Before he could start singing "Home on the Range," Dad said, "It's time you started showing a little more conscientiousness around here, young man, do you understand?" Steven thought, "Are you kidding? I bet not even Richelle Cyrus-Herndon knows what that word means, and she's the smartest kid at Clark Elementary School." He knew better than to tell his father that he had no idea what conscientiousness meant. That would cause another trip to look up the word in Great-great-grampa Carter's bad-dispositioned dictionary, something he really wasn't trying to do at any time, especially not at four-something in the morning. Oh yeah, the dictionary would give definitions, but only after it had insulted and disrespected Steven on its copyright page.   Excerpted from Mr. Chickee's Messy Mission by Christopher Paul Curtis All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.