Review Detail

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

Take home this adorable pet mystery!

It's the end of the school year, and Jimmy Bishop is busy making plans for summer. He wants to volunteer at the local animal shelter where he got Abby, his crime solving pooch, play lacrosse, and hang out with his friends Irwin, Baxter and Daisy. Things become complicated when Baxter admits that unless he passes math, he might be held back, and the building that houses the animal shelter is sold, and the shelter will have to close. Jimmy and his friends band together to help Baxter study, try unsuccessfully to solve a mystery involving a stolen answer sheet, and struggle through the end of the year at school, but the animal shelter is a big deal. Unfortunately, Daisy has gotten a new pet, a cat named Purkins who does NOT get along with Abby. After the stolen answer sheet debacle, Daisy and Irwin are not spending a lot of time with Jimmy, so all of the success he has in helping the shelter isn't as meaningful without his friends. With the CrimeBiters somewhat scattered, will Jimmy be able to solve the mystery of who is behind the sale of the building and the destruction caused to the animal shelter?

Good Points
It's rare that the third book in a series is the most solid, but I enjoyed this book even more than My Dog is Better Than Your Dog and It's a Doggy Dog World. In fact, there is such a complete and delightful recap of previous books in the beginning of the book that this could be read on its own if necessary. The characters all seemed to come into their own, and the fact that many of them make mistakes and are able to redeem themselves is a theme that should be explored more in middle grade fiction. The tensions between the characters are realistic and honest, and it's great to see the group working together to help Baxter be successful in school and to apologize when a mistake is made and they accuse someone wrongly in the case of the stolen answer sheet.

Children who try to make a positive impact on their world is an underutilized plot, and since this also involves dogs and cats, there will be many young readers who are drawn to this story.

While this has shades of Woodrow's Pet War or Singleton's Curious Cat Spy Club, it also pays homage to the classic Henry Reed neighborhood adventures. Even the illustrations have an appealing, timeless quality. A must read for any middle grade reader who enjoys mysteries or pet stories, Dog Day Afterschool begs to be picked up almost as insistently as the wide-eyed Purrkins.
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