Review Detail

Who's Destroying the Yard?
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0
King's friend Thor is in big trouble. His owner, Jillian, got a call from the grumpy Mr. Gary that Thor was in his yard and had upended garbage cans, dug through the garden, and caused all kind of havoc! Jillian's mom is helping to clean things up, and Jillian doesn't know what to do with her exuberant puppy. Of course, being a great detective, King finds out that Thor didn't create the mess. King enlists the help of other neighborhood dogs, who say there is a "new guy" around who might be responsible. The dogs and children go to the scene to investigate, and find some scat that does not belong to Thor amongst the wreckage. Thanks to a helpful neighbor and his cell phone, the humans finally realize that there is another creature responsible for the mess, and Thor is off the hook.

This is the sixth book in the series, which starts with King & Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats (2017). I was glad to see this series when it first came out, since there were not many early chapter books with Black characters. While the stories don't really touch on aspects of Black life or culture and are more concerned with King and the mysteries, it is worth noting that neither the author nor illustrator are Black.
Good Points
This series is a tiny bit harder than I Can Read books but not as long or difficult as Magic Tree House books. The stories are easy to follow, with enough mysterious build up to encourage readers to try to puzzle out what has happened by themselves. The illustrations are bright and cheerful, and the expressions on the dogs' faces are hysterical! It's nice to see neighbors out in their yards interacting with each other. This is a great series for readers who enjoy Faruqi's Meet Yasmin!, McDonald's Judy Moody, or Calandrelli's Ada Lace books.

This is a great read for elementary school students who are just starting to get into longer books and are not quite reading for the complexity of the cases in Sobol's Encyclopedia Brown books, and is also good for struggling middle school readers.
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