The third in a series of tales about the Gaskitt family – Mum, Dad, Gus, and Gloria (with a third child obviously on the way), this briskly paced story is a joy to read from start to finish. The young reader is invited to work out the mysterious disappearance of numerous animals, including the school pet rat, Randolph, as well as Gus and Gloria’s pet cat, Horace. The animals have been kidnapped by ‘Honest’ Joe and his mother and been whisked away in a converted pram to be sold in their pet shop.
Gus, Gloria and Mr Cruncher, the PE teacher, manage to save the day, Mrs Gaskitt gives birth safely to a third Gaskitt – Gary, and everything is resolved satisfactorily after a series of frantic events. As well as a superbly crafted text, which we take for granted from Ahlberg, there are great illustrations from McEwen including three maps for children to pore over, and an innovative ‘opening credits’ page which introduces the plot and basic characters to people who are new to the series. Add to this an exciting layout and well spaced print, and you have a book which will be well thumbed by young readers who enjoy being entertained.