Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Jan Fields
Illustrator: Scott Brundage
Publisher: Calico Chapter Books
Gabe Brown and his friends work as the camera crew for Gabe's older brother Ben’s internet show. They investigate accounts of cryptids, mythical creatures whose existence has not been proven. These boys travel around following leads, investigating the reality of these animals. Ben’s camera crew was recently hired by a competitor, Ace Rollin. Ace makes money by exaggerating accounts of these animals, instead of reporting the truth. The newest cryptid rumor is about a scary horned cat called the Ozark Howler. The boys must discover the secret behind the Howler before Ace has a chance to exploit it for his own gain.
Jan Fields has created an engaging, interesting mystery that kids will love. The plot is fast paced, with many twists and turns, but sometimes the story is a bit hard to follow. Overall, it is well written. Fields includes complex vocabulary words such as 'cryptid,' 'creature,' and 'lurked.' There are multiple descriptive phrases which are used to help the reader visualize the setting, as well as illustrations spread throughout the novel to help during key scenes. At eighty pages, it is a great transitional chapter book, helping students move from shorter, illustrated chapter books to longer chapter books without illustrations. It is perfect for students in second and third grade, but can be enjoyed by many other ages.