Review Detail

Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A

Fangs for the memories

Jimmy and his friends are back for this fourth and final installment, which starts with a bit of a shocker... Daisy has become a cheerleader! Jimmy is surprised, but Daisy maintains that it's a difficult sport, and wants Jimmy to be supportive of her. Jimmy has other things on his mind-- he's starting to wonder if Abby perhaps isn't really a vampire, not matter what her super powers seem to be. To start his investigation, he writes to the author of the the Jonah Forrester vampire novels he loves, Elroy Evans. To his surprise, Mr. Evans not only writes back, but invites Jimmy to a COM-MIX convention as his guest! Jimmy, along with Irwin and Baxter, have trouble believing that Daisy is a cheerleader, and their antics regarding this lead to a very nice cafeteria lady, Clarice, having lasagna dumped on her head. This gets Jimmy in trouble, but he has a lot of difficulty trying to explain himself to the nice assistant principal. Jimmy is having a lot of trouble dealing with people, it seems, and when he and his friends finally get to COM-MIX, they are turned away by guards who claim that only Jimmy can get in, and certainly not his dog. Mr. Evans makes sure that the entire group gets in, and takes a lot of time to talk to them. However, Mr. Evans son is less than happy with the way his father is treating Jimmy, and there is some hectic misunderstanding. In the end, Jimmy realizes that Abby can be a fabulous dog even if she really isn't a vampire.

Good Points
While most readers will know that Abby isn't really a vampire, they will still enjoy this playful romp with the Crimebiters. The best part of the book is the way that the friends work together. Daisy may be popular, Irwin may be a bit of a nerd, and Baxter's checkered past as a bully still crops up from time to time, but the children all genuinely like each other and work well together. There are some very realistic dynamics portrayed-- the boys are surprised when Daisy becomes a cheerleader, and neither Irwin nor Jimmy are happy when she seems interested in a boy who is not either of them. Daisy takes over the presidency of the Crimebiters, and wants to move the meetings to a better location, which Jimmy doesn't like until he realizes it involves homemade ice cream sandwiches. My favorite part was when Irwin decided to be a cheerleader, and when he gets flak about him, he gets support not only from his friends but from an unlikely source as well.

Working a comics convention into a book is always fun, and the author is especially nice to Jimmy. Evans' sons actions are a bit over the top, but ultimately understandable, and the resolution is satisfactory. As always, Jimmy's parents are supportive of his actions and accompany him on this trip, even though they are a bit disappointed about the incident with the cafeteria lady.

Stower's illustrations are a nice touch, and their inclusion makes it easy to hand this book to readers who have read all of the notebook novels available and are able to move onto books with slightly more text. Hand this series to fans of clue oriented mysteries like the Hardy Boys or Ron Roy's various beginning chapter books, and make sure they've read the first three books in this series: My Dog is Better Than Your Dog, It's a Doggy Dog World and Dog Day Afterschool.
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