Chapter Two is Missing – written by Josh Lieb, illustrated by Kevin Cornell


     Chapter Two is Missing – written by Josh Lieb, illustrated by Kevin Cornell, Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, 9781984835482, 2019

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Mystery

What did you like about the book?  Oh no!  Chapter two of this book is missing! How can one read a book when nearly the entire exposition has been misplaced?  Can the characters recover the elusive entry before the end of the story?  There’s only one thing to do: read on and find out!

Lieb, known mostly for his work writing and producing television comedy, and Cornell, most recognizable for his collaborations with Mac Barnett, pair up to present a tongue-in-cheek story full of silliness, mix-ups, and the biggest mystery this side of the verso.  Readers are immediately thrown into the drama when the narrator, a young boy-coded character, announces the imminent mess (and missing words).  A detective soon enters the scene and she begins investigations peppered with word play.  All the while, a grumpy janitor skulks around, underappreciated and undeterred by the mystery… maybe there’s more to him than meets the eye?

This is a quick read with jokes to make kids laugh on every page.  Coming in at just under 40 pages and shaped like a typical picture book, this unassuming title is sure to draw reluctant readers with its combination of genre, length, and humor.  Cornell utilizes a limited color palette of white, yellow, and black as well as classic character design that is reminiscent of a film noir.  Illustrations spread throughout the entire book, title page included, to give readers even more to decipher (and enjoy) beyond the written story.

After reading, I investigated on my own by emailing and phoning Detective McGarrigan with the contact information in Chapter One.  The immersion and comedy continues as I received an automatic email reply and a voicemail greeting from the character; both were plenty silly and perfect for the book.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book?  This will make an excellent read-aloud in K-2 classes.  Those at a third grade reading level will be able to devour this book with ease.  

Who should buy this book? Libraries serving a K+ audience (public & school)

Where would you shelve it ? J Fiction – As mentioned above, the size of the book will make many see this as a picture book.  While it certainly won’t be out of place in that collection, it makes more sense being shelved with books that can be independently read.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Looking for a read-aloud for an older group? Yes! Want to get a giggle? Yes!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA

Date of review: November 10, 2019

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