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Summary: Buddy is excited about his job as a therapy dog at school. When the fire alarm goes off on the first day of school, some of the students are convinced it is the ghost of Agatha Curry. Buddy is skeptical, but his superior detective skills tell him something is going on. That's not enough, Buddy needs clues. As if that's not enough, in the middle of the case, a young student goes missing! Buddy has the boy's scent but he's stuck in Mom's office. Two cases and no way to solve them. Now what? This is a lightly illustrated detective story for transitional readers.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 7 to 10; read yourself: 9 and up
Interest Level: 7 to 10
Reading Level: 2.8
Age of Child: Read by a 9-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: It took a few pages to get my daughter started with this book, but then she devoured it in a night. She immediately asked if we had any of the other titles featured on the back cover.
Adult Reader Reaction: I was surprised that I had to coax my dog-crazed daughter into this one. It was great to see she "came around," though. This is fun, wholesome series with just the right amount of suspense for elementary readers. I'm looking forward to the next one, too.
Pros: Realistic situations, lots of action, and great visual descriptions make this fun to read aloud to a group or for transitional readers ready to read by themselves.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is an enjoyable series and offers the kind of "comfort story" elementary readers need to have. If they don't have a therapy dog, reading along with Buddy may be just the thing they need.
Educational Themes: There are a variety of themes in this one. Not long into the story the author plays out a bullying/gang scenario. This would make a great way to step away from the book and talk about those issues. Mrs. Angus is a staff member at school opposed to Buddy. She makes a great character for having to look at an issue from both sides. Although the author doesn't provide information, the story introduces the idea of therapy dogs, which can be explored via other media. There are also other themes, such as intimidation and threats.
Notes: This publisher sent a copy of this book as part of the 2010 Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Award (Cybils) process. This review is not intended to represent the opinions of the Cybils. The book will be donated to a reader in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - animal stories, mystery and detective stories, series
Date(s) Reviewed: November 2010
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