Looking Back and Looking Forward by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
In the spring of 2004, I was doing a series of school visits in Houston, Texas. This was a year before my book Punk Farm was to be released, and I would end every school presentation with a drawing of characters from my upcoming book. I would ask the students to guess what that next book would be about. The guesses always ran the gamut, but several students mistook the rock stars in aviator sunglasses to be police officers. That set me on the course to start brainstorming on a book called Penguin Police Squad, which eventually became Platypus Police Squad.
Here I am now, getting ready for the spring of 2016 when I will be publishing the final book in the series, Platypus Police Squad: Never Say Narwhal.
When I set out to write the Platypus Police Squad series, I always had in mind a set number of books with the characters growing and changing in an overall story arc. This was very different from my previous books, which were one-off picture books and episodic graphic novels. Everything comes to a head for my monotreme detectives and their various antagonists in Never Say Narwhal, and man, I am so excited for everyone to read this book! It’s been thrilling for me to connect with readers over the previous three installments. I love hearing from families who have read the books aloud and I am so honored by the enthusiasm kids express whenever I draw Detectives Zengo and O’Malley at school visits. It’s incredibly rewarding when I just scribble a few shapes and I hear the murmurings from the crowd: “It’s Platypus Police Squad!”
It has been an incredible adventure in and out of the pages. When I started sketching out animal cops in my sketchbook, I was twenty-six years old and single. When Never Say Narwhal publishes, I’ll be thirty-eight, and I have a wonderful family—my wife, Gina, my daughters Zoe and Lucy, and our pugs, Ralph and Frankie. When developing the books I watched documentaries about platypuses and went on ride-alongs in police cars. (Seriously, how lucky am I? Who gets to do that?!) In the years since these books have been published, I’ve seen fan drawings, YouTube tribute videos, and homemade Platypus Police Squad Halloween costumes. I’ve met several brave police officers at special readings of the books. I even got to design the artwork for the summer reading program of “Every Hero Has a Story” for libraries nationwide. And now there is a big animated feature film in development, set to be co-written and directed by an old friend (after whom who I named Mayor Saunders). (Learn more about that here.)
As I wrote the final scene on that last page of Never Say Narwhal, I’ll admit that I got a little emotional. (My editor even confessed to getting a little teary when he read it.) But for now, I need to put my emotions aside—I still have illustrations to turn in for this book! I’d better get back to my drafting table… As I finish the art, I will listen to the playlist that has pumped me up throughout the series. It’s a playlist that includes songs like Highway to the Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins, Hypnotize by the Notorious B.I.G., and the soundtracks to all of the Beverly Hills Cop movies.
The final book in Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s hilarious, action-packed platypus police procedural! Frank Pandini Jr. is the mayor of Kalamazoo City, and everyone is celebrating—everyone except for Zengo, O’Malley, and Cooper, who can’t seem to close a single case. To make matters worse, a mysterious hulking shadow has appeared in waters around KC. Could this spell the end for the Platypus Police Squad?