Christopher Paul Curtis grew up in Flint, Michigan. He and his wife, Kay, have two children and live in Ontario, Canada.
Gr 3-6-A humorous and exciting tall tale about nine-year-old Steven, who loves helping his blind neighbor, Mr. Chickee, run his errands. When the elderly man tells Steven he is going on a long trip, he gives the boy a present and tells him to keep it secret. When Steven finally opens the surprise, he finds a quadrillion dollar bill. With the help of his younger friend, Russell, and Russell's drooling, giant dog, Zoopy, Steven manages to evade the smarmy and slightly inept Agent Fondoo from the U.S. Treasury Department, who is desperately trying to get the bill back. Curtis piles the laughs on in this fast-paced mystery. The interactions between Steven and his dad, who uses every opportunity to educate his son (much to Steven's irritation); the dictionary whose copyright page constantly writes insults; and the boy's miraculous spying invention called the Snoopeeze 9000 all serve to give the novel a sense of whimsy and magical realism. Characters are very interesting but the plot is the important thing here. Curtis presents both adults and children as flawed but brave. This book will surely appeal to reluctant readers as well as anyone who wants to laugh and find intrigue and just a little bit of magic.-B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Library, Sag Harbor, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Encyclopedia Brown may have to move over. There's a new detective in town with a hip attitude and some pretty nifty spy gadgets to boot. This premiere volume of a series created by the author of Bud, Not Buddy introduces fourth grader Steven Carter, detective extraordinaire and "second-smartest student at Clark Elementary School." The novel opens with Steven at the side of a dam and his best friend presumed dead; five "Agents" in black suits start questioning him about a mysterious "item." Steven then flashes back to his first "case," when his good friend, Mr. Chickee, a blind elderly gentleman, gives him an unusual gift-a quadrillion-dollar bill imprinted with a picture of James Brown. But is the bill legitimate cash or "funny money"? Using his souped-up MP3 player that makes eavesdropping a breeze and a magic dictionary that gives advice, Steven makes some headway in unraveling the mystery. Meanwhile, with the help of his two sidekicks, seven-year-old Russell Woods and Russell's monstrous dog, Zoopy, Steven is kept busy trying to stay one step ahead of Special Agent William T. Fondoo from the U.S. Treasury Department, who has ulterior motives for wanting to get his hand on the dough. Offering catchy lingo, bigger-than-life predicaments and an array of boldly drawn characters, this book is well aimed at readers in search of an unconventional and comical brand of mystery. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.