Review Detail

Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0

Puzzle solving for early readers

Kayla and her friend Mason both get mysterious letters dropped off on their porches. King can figure out right away that the letter smells like oatmeal and like Kayla's friend Jillian, but when he tries to communicate this, Kayla just thinks he needs to go out. When she and Mason start to investigate the clues, they are able to decode the letters and figure out what King knew all along.

Good Points
This is a great introduction to one of my favorite word puzzles, the Cryptoquip! It's introduced in a way that's easy enough for younger readers to understand, and will no doubt inspire some coded messages, and maybe even a secret spy party.

King's exuberance once again steals the show, and his shame at being called a "bad dog" is sad. Whether he's trying to behave himself or enthusing about his FAVORITE THING, his eyes tell the story very appealingly. Readers will find a lot of humor in King's antics while they enjoy helping Kayla solve the mystery.

Hand this series to readers who have devoured Elliot's Owl Diaries, Haas' Bramble and Maggie series, and Potter's Piper Green books, or older titles like Adler's Cam Jansen or Sharmat's Nate the Great mysteries.
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