Thursday, February 25, 2016

Crimebiters: My dog is better than your dog by Tommy Greenwald, illustrated by Adam Stower

This is one of those titles that really didn't grab me but which my younger patrons love.

Eleven-year-old Jimmy has a boring life. It's true. His mom works all the time, his dad is looking for a job so he can work all the time, he's too shy to talk to girls, especially sweet Daisy Flowers, and all he and his best friend do is argue about Jimmy's favorite mystery tv show and vampire books. He's a dweeb and he knows it. But all that is about to change when he gets The Blotch on his face and guilts his dad into getting him a dog from the shelter. Soon there are mysteries, bullies, and drama galore and he's wondering if his new pet Abby is a little more than she seems...or has he really watched too much tv?

This is a light and funny mystery plenty of younger humor and trials and tribulations - talking to girls, dealing with parents, and struggling with changing friendships. The art added an additional humorous dimension. I did feel that the characters, family dynamics, and situation were not as fully developed as they could have been. How does Jimmy's family have no financial difficulties with only one working adult? Their acceptance of the babysitter felt a little hasty to me as well and the mystery felt rushed and thrown in at the end. However, the point of the book is the humor and Jimmy's viewpoint, which is naturally stuck on what affects him personally. The hardest part for me to buy was the resolution with the stereotypical bully, where he admits he was taking his anger on his family situation out on Jimmy.

Verdict: This isn't an award-winning and deeply meaningful piece of writing, but it's a fun, relaxing read and has been consistently checked out at my library. Fans of Bunnicula and Greenwald's other titles will enjoy it.

ISBN: 9780545773324; Published 2015 by Scholastic; Purchased for the library

No comments: