Although there’s a long tradition of goofy animal detectives, the wild success of Dav Pilkey’s Dogman series has inspired a fresh spurt and this latest furry investigator is a hilarious addition to the genre.

Mo O’Hara’s signature humor is well-established in previous series like My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish, and she’s teamed up with British artist Jess Bradley for her first graphic novel. Special Agent Anonymoose and his sidekick, Not-Quite-So-Special Agent Owlfred are introduced via their personnel files. Then the first chapter starts with a, well, he meant well… ok, it was a disaster. Instead of successfully solving his 100th case, Anonymoose has flopped, big time. As Owlfred says, “It wasn’t technically a crime, sir. More of a meteorological event.” To add insult to injury, Anonymoose is ordered down to headquarters to help celebrate the 100th case of his rival Camo Chameleon, and clean up the loose ends of Camo’s last case by finding a missing turtle who’s needed as a witness.

Anonymoose has the disguises, Owlfred has the smarts, and together they’re one great team. Can they solve the mystery, put up with Camo’s boasting, and prove that Anonymoose has what it takes to complete his 100th case? Or will they disappear before they solve all the strange happenings?

The silly text, full of jokes, puns, and general hilarity, is complemented by Bradley’s goofy art. Anonymoose’s disguises are each funnier than the last, and will keep readers giggling as they quickly find him disguised as a palm tree, giant turtle, and more while the onlookers are completely fooled. Owlfred reluctantly goes along, getting dressed up as a complementary coconut and other wacky disguises that fit his small owl form, and even use his big, wire-rimmed glasses. The art is bright and colorful with lots of action and movement among the plethora of animal characters and many dramatic close-ups as Revelations Are Made. The speech bubbles and panels are easy to follow and the bold art and simple lines work together well with the intermediate text for readers not yet ready to tackle more complex graphic novels. The chapter headings are included on each page, along with moose tracks and owl feathers, so readers can keep track of how far they’ve gotten in the story and the goofy fun comes full circle with another newspaper headline, this time about Anonymoose and Owlfred’s success.

This is pure fun and I laughed all the way through. It’s got some gentle lessons about paying attention to the facts and looking below the surface and Anonymoose does learn to appreciate the rather stereotyped Owlfred more, especially when he’s gone and Anonymoose realizes he hasn’t always been the good friend he should have been. Although most of the characters who are given a gender are designated as male, the head of Special Branch is a very snazzy skunk in pant suit and pearls. This is sure to be wildly popular with both Dogman fans and Mo O’Hara’s own readers. The next volume in the series is planned for 2021, so be ready for Anonymoose and Owlfred’s next exciting case!


Agent Moose 1
By Mo O’Hara
Art by Jess Bradley
ISBN: 9781250222213
Feiwel and Friends, 2020
Publisher Age Rating:
Series ISBNS and Order

Title Details and Representation
NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11)

  • Jennifer

    | She/Her Youth Services Librarian, Matheson Memorial Library

    Reviewer

    Jennifer Wharton is the Youth Services Librarian at Matheson Memorial Library in Elkhorn, Wisconsin where she maintains the juvenile and young adult graphic novel collections and was responsible for creating the library’s adult graphic novel collection. She is constantly looking for great new comics for kids and teens and new ways to incorporate graphic storytelling in programming. Jennifer blogs for preschool through middle grade at JeanLittleLibrary and has an MLS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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