New York Times best-selling author Aaron Reynolds delivers an "entertainingly spooky romp" (Publishers Weekly, starred review) about Rex Dexter, who is itching to have a dog . . . but ends up with a pet chicken. One hour and fourteen minutes later, the chicken is dead (by a steamroller), Rex is cursed (by the Grim Reaper), and wild animals are haunting Rex's room (hounding him for answers). Even his best friend Darvish is not going to believe this, and that kid believes everything!
Rex's uninvited ghostly guests are a chatty, messy bunch. And they need Rex to solve their mysterious, deadly departures from the Middling Falls Zoo before it happens again. But how?
When avid dog lover Rex Dexter, a sixth grader, begs for one "a chocolate Labrador. That's a proper pet" for his birthday, he doesn't expect his parents to get him a chicken as a "practice pet." Nor does he expect said chicken to be promptly run over by a steamroller, shortly after Rex loses a carnival game called The Grim Reaper, one that promises a curse. Nor the chicken's ghost to turn up in his bedroom calling him "bestie." More ghosts appear: of the rhino that burned to death at the local zoo, of a dead gorilla with a shark attached to its rear. Rex has become a lightning rod for dead animals, and it's clear that something sinister is happening at the zoo. Now he, his spectral companions, and his best friend, Darvish, must get to the heart of the matter before further animals meet similarly dismal fates. In this entertainingly spooky romp, Reynolds (Dude!) tempers his morbid premise with the absurdity of Rex's situation, the ghostly entourage's distinct personalities, and a hilarious, simultaneously formal and sarcastic, narrative voice. Ages 8 12.