Author: Sands Hetherington
Illustrator: Jessica Love
Publisher: Dune Buggy Press
ISBN: 978-0-9847417-2-4

Crosley, she reports you were just spotted snatching Rodney Oglesby’s hot dog cart on Park and 33rd Street and disappearing around the corner with it, shouting, ‘Yerk …’” writes Sands Hetherington in his second of the series book, Night Buddies, Imposters and One Far-Out Flying Machine.

More than twice the length of its predecessor with three hundred and nineteen pages, this paperback book has a colorful drawing of a boy and a red crocodile flying in a blimp over a city at nighttime on the front jacket. With the book’s plethora of intentional misspellings to emphasize diction, there is a fun warning page at the beginning stating not to spell the same words at school or on a test. There is also a one page explanation of uncommon words used by the Night Buddies and about a dozen black and white drawings by illustrator Love. The book is targeted as juvenile fiction with some slang but no profanity.

In this tome, once again John writes in first person as his friend, Crosley, the adventurous red crocodile, comes to his bedroom at night, ready to complete the next Night Buddy Program. When they are unable to contact headquarters for their assignment, Cros’s brother and boss Crenwinkle arrives via bus and informs them that there is a look-a-like red crocodile not only destroying city property with graffiti, but also turning over Rodney Oglesby’s hot dog cart and stealing his jellybeans. Cros and John make it their challenge to find the imposter and stop the mayhem.

Using Croc’s special I-D gimcrack, an upgraded wristwatch, and the amazing racing blimp complete with anabolic hover-lok, upgas modulator and ladderlower, the two plan a Code Q stake-out to catch the culprits next time they tip over Rodney’s sauerkraut and jellybean hotdog cart. When they realize it is the Iguana Gang who is causing the havoc, they try to rat them out by cutting off their mole milk supply, an ingredient besides jellybeans and mothballs to make lizard cheese.

Will Cros survive being splashed with water on his pineapple cheesecake camouflage vest and take his antidote water pills in time? Will John not just eat the Fro-Madge frozen yogurt but put it to use to help deter the lizards? Will Skyscripting be enough to clear the red alligator’s good name?

In spite of the constant distraction of strange dialect with bolded, italicized, varied fonts and sizes and lengthy reading for a young person, this is a creative yet sophomoric story that has plenty of imagination, action and intrigue.

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