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Author: Doreen Cronin

Illustrator: Kevin Cornell

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Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Retirement is supposed to be quiet, right? and relaxing ... right? Well, that's what retired search and rescue dog J.J. Tully thought, too. He tries to explain that to Dirt, Sugar, and their mom when they come to him with a missing chicks case. But then they said the magic word: Cheeseburger. How could he not help them find their kidnapped kin if there is a cheeseburger at the end? Easy Cheesy - except the clues seem to make this case harder to solve. How can that be? This is an illustrated chapter book series for transitional readers (second and third grade)

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader, remedial reader, transitional reader, illustrated chapter

Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 9; read yourself: 9 to 11

Interest Level: 5 to 10

Reading Level: 3.8

Age of Child: Read with and by a 9-year-old girl. Also read with two boys, ages 4 and 6.

Young Reader Reaction: "Those chickens are so funny." We raced through this one, as our daughter wanted us to keep reading until the end. She loved the surprise ending.

Second reviewer: My kids did not have a strong reaction to the book. I think it was partially because the first 4-6 chapters were VERY slow and repetitive, so not much happened. It was difficult to follow. We actually stopped after that part, since neither the boys nor I were enjoying the book.

Adult Reader Reaction: Hilarious. This is so much fun to read aloud as a partner read. The author makes it easy to be one of the characters and they just beg to be read with your best Bogart imitation. There is enough meat to the story to appeal to remedial readers who need high-interest/low readability titles.

Second reviewer: I did not like the book. It was laborious to read because the plot was so slow (in the beginning). I read the final chapters and they moved much more quickly. The action was actually pretty exciting. I also had some reservations about the language. It was suitable for kids (no foul language), but the feel of the book imitated classic private eye mysteries, and I felt like I was in a greasy diner with a back-alley-romping detective (dog). Not exactly the type of thing I personally like to expose my children to (yet). Also, the humor was probably a bit mature for my children to understand.

Pros: Humor for young and old alike make this an appealing book for all audiences. It is a good mystery, with a twist, and little violence. Kids could who listen to this could easily come back to it later to read themselves and pick up even more of the humor.

Cons: It has a SLOW plot in the beginning. The tone of the book mimics classic detective novels, not my ideal for a children's book.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a funny, funny book and the kids will be picking lines from it for a long time.


Educational Themes: This is an illustrated chapter book for developing and transitional readers. There are opportunities to deal with "jumping to conclusions," and with older audiences, you can talk about character voice (not just the sound, but how you learn about the character by what and how he says something).

Notes: The Reading Tub, Inc. asked the publisher for the opportunity to review a PDF version of this title via The request was for the purpose of reviewing the book. We subsequently received a hardcover edition, too.

Literary Categories: Fiction - mystery, animal characters, easy reader series, humor

Date(s) Reviewed: May 2011, January 2012

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