There are three kids on the cover of this book. One is being carried off by a giant bat. I think it is safe to say, when one sees this, they can assume this is going to be a fantasy novel. I would even assume that it would be a fantasy mystery (after all why is there a giant bat, why are the people running and why is the girl wearing a yellow duck floaty around her waist?). And Battle of the Bad-Breath Bats, the first book in the 13th Street series by David Bowels is just that.
It also is a friendship book (with cousins instead of non-related persons). It is also a humor book. It is also a book that tries to be educational by giving “markers” of how far you have come in reading and how far you have to go. There are other items that follow this theme of education.
The plot of the story involves three cousins who are staying with their Aunt Lucy for the summer. One is the “leader,” one the “brain” and the third a “video player.” The roles of each character are a bit cliched, but the reader (ages 8 to 10) will appreciate this familiar aspect. There are also both male and female characters and the family are of a Hispanic background. In fact, Spanish is intermixed with English in the conversations everyone has. When the cousins find themselves on the way to a waterpark on a mysterious street, they soon realize that 13th Street not actually existing is the least of their problems, there are giant bad-breath bats, ghosts, and odd shapes on doors. What they learn why this is means they will have to use all their talents to escape.
The adult me is wondering why Aunt Lucy let these seemingly under 10-year-olds go by themselves, but the kid in me knows this modern fantasy mystery is going to be one fun ride. The illustrations of Shane Clester tie the text into images that help show the action.