The ragtag scout troop returns in a new adventure ― this time, to solve a mystery surrounding the famed Loch Ness Monster.
Some scouts spend their weekends weaving baskets, but if you’re a Strange Scout you spend them tagging Massachusetts Pukwudgies (harder than it sounds ― Pukwudgies like to set things on fire). Troop Danger has come a long way from their Troop Dweeb days, but nothing can prepare them for what’s next: The Strange Scouts Annual Loch Ness Lock-In!
Once a year, Strange Scout troops from around the world are invited to test their scouting skills in an old lighthouse on the shore of the infamous Loch Ness. But when the area surrounding Loch Ness suffers unusual damage, evidence points to a dastardly plot to frame Nessie herself! Can the Strange Scouts’ newest troop clear Nessie’s name and earn their badges before it’s too late?
- Title: The Loch Ness Lock-In
- Series: Strange Scout Tales, Book 2
- Author: Matthew Cody
- Illustrator: Steve Lambe
- Publisher: Rodale Kids
- ISBN: 1635650607
- Publication Date: August 21, 2018
- For Ages: 7-10
- Category: Chapter Book
- Spooky-Scary or Spooky-Fun? 🎃 Fun.
I’d like to thank Random House Children’s Books for providing an advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Loch Ness Lock-In is an exciting, laugh-out-loud funny chapter book about a secret group of scouts protecting the monsters of the world. These cryptozoologists-in-training are preaching the gospel of weird, and I love them for it. Part of the Strange Scouts oath vows “To preserve oddity and strangeness in all its glory, especially my own, Because uniqueness is never weakness.” For that sentence alone, I think every kid should read this book.
This is a clever, funny story that will keep kids riveted and have them clamoring for the next book in the series. It’s well-plotted and full of hilarious asides from narrator Ben Beederman, one of the young Scouts investigating what appear to be Nessie attacks at the famed Loch Ness. The Scooby-Doo comparisons are inevitable — the villain of the piece is a mini golf magnate who seems suspiciously eager to blame the conspicuous property damage on Nessie, and I was holding my breath waiting for him to shake his fist and yell about meddling kids. (Spoiler alert: he didn’t.) But this is no rehash. Matthew Cody’s story comes across as a winking homage as it distinguishes itself with its humor, tight plotting, and heart.
Since I read an e-galley, I didn’t see a lot of the final art, but based on what I did see, Steve Lambe’s illustrations are terrific and complement the story’s quirky humor nicely. That comes as no surprise, since Lambe was a character designer for several cartoons known for their humorous character work, including The Fairly OddParents and my personal favorite Teen Titans Go! There’s one image in particular that I really hope makes it to print, because it’s hilarious and ties in beautifully with a touching moment at the end of the story.
This is the second book in the Strange Scouts series, but Cody does a good job of catching the reader up in case you (like me) haven’t read the first one. Still, I definitely want to go back to check out the first book, How to Merit in Monsters, and future entries in the series will be automatic adds to my TBR. Maybe I can learn how I can join the Strange Scouts, because the Scout oath is the perfect summation of my goal in life: to “preserve oddity and strangeness in all its glory, especially my own.”
With its strong storytelling and clever humor, The Loch Ness Lock-In is a fun read that shows kids that monsters aren’t always monstrous and that being weird is something to be celebrated, no matter what the rest of the world may think.
Uniqueness is never weakness! I give this book 4 out of 5 coffins.