The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo
by Drew Weing
Greenwillow Books, 2016
Middle Grade (8 and up)
This amazing, fresh and funny cartoon delivers diversity of characters and an entertaining atmosphere of mystery! Suitable for younger ages, it’s an easy to read, colorful adventure through the shadowy underbelly of a city where monsters dwell.
When Charles first moves to Echo City, he is concerned about the crime rate. That should be the least of his worries. His dad is fixing up an old hotel called The Bellwether, so they get to stay there for free. But the residents of the hidden corners of the abandoned old urban blight of a building don’t take kindly to Dad’s re-appropriation of their historic house-parts and fixtures.
He meets a friend and fellow Bellwether tenant named Kevin who introduces him to the only person in the city who can help Charles with his developing monster-in-the-closet troubles, an ambassador to the dark underground named Margo Maloo, mo-ped driving Monster Mediator.
In the first chapter, Margo saves Charles from being eaten by the troll in the basement whose hoard his Dad’s been dipping into. Who knew a monster would have an almost complete collection of Battlebeanz?!
I Love the abandoned kitchen scene and Charles’ Dad’s old Ramones t-shirt and Dead Kennedys tattoos. The colors are rich and engaging and the artwork is easy on the eyes as it pulls you through an adventure you will lose yourself in immediately!
The first book sets up an entire parallel world rife with shadows and secrets, a place where sometimes kids don’t escape, but its never frightening to explore from an armchair. It is a truly welcome comic for ten year-olds.
In the second story, Charles the blogger decides he’s going to take on the monster underground himself as a journalist. Margo allows him to tag along on her current case, and they end up locked in the cellar of an abandoned newspaper building. She deftly handles both bullies and ghosts while weaving her way through a neighborhood of endearingly cute monsters with just the right amount of threat.
In the third story, a search for an ogre’s lost baby gets Charles a tour of a monster market looking for clues to hunt down the kidnappers, but ends them both up in the middle of a gargantuan bar-room brawl.
I’ll let him go… for now. But if I don’t get my Millie back by nightfall, I’ll be coming back for this bite-sized shrimp.
I can’t wait for more of this series. It went too fast. I want to go deeper into the dark underside of Echo City where only Margo dares tread!