Texas Bluebonnet Award 2014-2015

Resources for the TBA Nominees

Platypus Police Squad


Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked
by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Scroll down to find Related Activities & Resources, Book Talk Teasers, Read Alikes, and Book Reviews.

Readers Theater Script – Platypus Police Squad (PDF)


Book Trailer by Walden Media (1:13):

Following an introductory trailer, the author talks about writing the book  (19:40):

Platypus Police Squad fan video by Castelton Elementary  (2:29):

How Krosoczka Got Idea for Platypus Police Squad (2:58):

Drawing Detectives Rick Zengo and Corey O’Malley from Platypus Police Squad (0:51):

Write the sequel–What’s the next case file for Detectives Rick Zengo and Corey O’Malley?

Have you ever seen a real platypus?:


Visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia, Rated one of the “Top 10 Zoos in the World” by AOL:

Take a field trip to the police station or bring the police to you.     

Take a virtual field trip to the Hamilton Police Central Station in Hamilton, Ontario (4:10):

What’s the Question? (worksheet)

How to make a Root Beer Float procedural–celebrate the end of the book with a float party                                                                   

Adapt this lesson plan to explore career options with students:


Case #1138
Detectives of record: Rick Zengo and Corey O’Malley
Case brief: A local schoolteacher is missing, and the only thing fishier than the circumstances surrounding his disappearance is the smell coming from the bag he left behind. All clues point to billionaire businessman Frank Pandini Jr.–but why would Pandini get his paws into the illegal fish trade?

Dav Pilkey, the creator of Captain Underpants, says, “These duck-billed detectives really deliver!”
(from the back of the book)


Other titles by Jarrett Krosoczka (author appeal):

Krosoczka, Jarrett. Lunch Lady and the cyborg substitute. Hector, Terrence, and Dee have always wondered about their school lunch lady, but little do they know, Lunch Lady doesn’t just serve sloppy joes–she serves justice–and whatever danger lies ahead, it is no match for her. This is the first of 9 in this author’s popular Lunch Lady graphic novel series. (Betty Potter)

Other mystery stories with the same tone (funny):

Hale, Bruce. The chameleon wore chartreuse: from the tattered casebook of Chet Gecko, private eye. Chet Gecko is hired by a fellow fourth-grader to find her missing brother, and uncovers a plot involving a Gila monster’s revenge upon the school football team. First in the popular Chet Gecko series. (Betty Potter)

Cronin, Doreen. The trouble with chickens: a J.J. Tully mystery. A hard-bitten former search-and-rescue dog helps solve a complicated missing chicken case. (NoveList)

Erickson, John R. The original adventures of Hank the Cowdog. Hank the Cowdog, Head of Ranch Security, is framed for the murder of a chicken and becomes an outlaw with the coyotes. Includes two short stories which became the inspiration for the Hank books. Published in 1983, this is the first of many in the very popular, long-running Hank series. (Betty Potter)

Other mystery stories with similar appeal factors (plot-driven, attention-grabbing):

Curtis, Christopher Paul. Mr. Chickee’s funny money. Flint Future Detective Club members Steven Carter, his friend Russell, and Russell’s huge dog Zoopy solve the mystery of a quadrillion-dollar bill with the image of James Brown on it. (NoveList)

Hiaasen, Carl. Flush. With their father jailed for sinking a river boat, Noah Underwood and his younger sister, Abbey, must gather evidence that the owner of this floating casino is emptying his bilge tanks into the protected waters around their Florida Keys home. (NoveList)

Konigsburg, E.L. From the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Claudia and her brother run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she sees a statue so beautiful, she must identify its sculptor. To find out, she must visit the statue’s former owner, the elderly Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. (NoveList)


Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked. By Jarret J. Krosoczka. Illus. by the author. 2013. 240p. HarperCollins/Walden Pond, $12.99 (9780062071644). Gr. 4–7. (Booklist Online, April 22, 2013).

A veteran police officer with a family and a weight problem pairs up with a rough-edged rookie whose procedural bloopers get them kicked off their first investigation—so they nab the pusher they had been after on their own time. Sound familiar? Evidently hoping that young readers might find it clever, Krosoczka takes this rather trite plotline and positively festoons it with standard cop TV show lines and tropes. It helps that the duo are platypuses, but this does not have the sense of fun found in Krosoczka’s Lunch Lady series (soon to be a major motion picture) and is way more confusing. Not even the dozens of cartoon illustrations (not seen in finished form) and an inviting all-animal cast featuring platypus cops carrying boomerangs instead of guns add that much. Still, the author has a huge fan following, and patrons may request this. Hints of malfeasance in high places set up a next episode, so there will be more. — John Peters

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books:
Krosoczka, Jarrett J. 2013. Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked. New York: Walden Pond Press / HarperCollins. Hardback: 9780062071644.

Just when we thought Phineas and Ferb had cornered the market on crime-fighting monotremes, Krosoczka introduces us to Rick Zengo, rookie detective on the Platypus Police Squad of Kalamazoo City. Zengo is anxious to prove his worth when he’s assigned to be the partner of O’Malley, a veteran gumshoe who helped take down Pandini, the kingpin of organized crime in Kalamazoo City, years ago. When a beloved English teacher from the local high school goes missing in what appears to be a botched illegal synthetic-fish deal, Zengo and O’Malley stay hot on a trail that drags them down to the docks and back up through a swanky nightclub where the staff has shady behind-the-scenes dealings. This is true hardboiled crime fiction, platypus-style, with cops who aren’t afraid to pull their boomerangs, philanthropic panda entrepreneurs with their paws in every pie, and unexpected reveals when the masks come off. Krosoczka’s copious use of spot art pulls the story along (not that the lightning-fast plot needs the help), while the tongue-in-cheek appropriation of the tropes of whodunits make this a catch for kids who will want to crack the case alongside Zengo. A final bait-and-switch makes it very clear that Zengo and O’Malley will return to their sleuthing in a sequel. Final art not seen.

Review Code: R — Recommended. Grades 3-6. Thaddeus Andracki (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, June 2013 (Vol. 66, No. 10))

Horn Book:
Krosoczka, Jarrett J. Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked
229 pp. HarperCollins/Walden Pond 2013. ISBN 978-0-06-207164-4
(4) 4-6 A missing teacher, synthetic fish, and a history of organized crime culminate in a mystery for rookie Rick Zengo and his cantankerous partner on the Kalamazoo City Platypus Police Squad. With juvenile twists such as the duck-billed cops using boomerangs instead of guns, detective-story clichés and tropes abound in this lighthearted whodunit made even more kid-friendly by the black-and-white cartoons sprinkled throughout. (Fall 2013 Guide) Reprinted from The Horn Book Guide by permission of The Horn Book, Inc., www.hbook.com

School Library Journal:
Krosoczka, Jarrett J. Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked

Gr 3–6—Followers of Krosoczka’s “Lunch Lady” series (Knopf) will be delighted to discover the author’s foray into the realm of chapter books. This CSI-style mystery revolves around two platypus police officers. When rookie detective Rick Zengo is teamed up with veteran Corey O’Malley, the relationship is off to a rocky start. The two are assigned to investigate a missing local teacher and an illegal fish trade, and all signs point to the docks. Early clues indicate Frank Pandini, Jr.’s businesses, but Pandini is supposedly an up-and-up businessman (panda) trying to improve his family’s reputation. Exuberant Zengo wants to make a name for himself on the Platypus Police Squad and not follow in his legendary grandfather’s shadow, but his inexperience threatens the investigation. Details such as the cops using boomerangs to capture the bad guys and the local hangout serving root-beer floats make the mystery delicious fun. Burgeoning with detective clichés, affable characters, and lots of cartoon art, the book will be popular with Krosoczka’s fans and amateur sleuths not ready for a darker thriller.—Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA


One thought on “Platypus Police Squad

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