King, a golden retriever, and Kayla, his sweet owner, both love to solve mysteries. The two are visiting Kayla's grandmother in the country, at a lake, when they find a cute white dog named Fred. Fred is lost and Kayla and her family think he's a stray - but King knows he's not really a stray, he just can't find his family! With King and Kayla both working on the case, they soon have Fred reunited with his family.
Meyers' cartoon illustrations show a perky set of dogs and carefully follow the steps Kayla takes to collect and organize her clues and solve the mystery. Kayla interacts with Fred to see if she can determine if he's a stray or not, finding that he knows several commands. She visits neighbors to see if anyone has seen Fred around or knows who owns him. Finally, with the nudging help of King, they set out on a trip across the lake and locate Fred's family, who are camping in the area.
This is a transitional easy reader, just right for kids who are in the process of moving from easy readers to early chapters. The story is complex enough to hold their interest but simple enough to allow them to spread some of their focus to the mechanics of reading. The layout is excellent, spreading pictures throughout the story that enhance the text and offer additional clues to the plot. An aspect I also appreciate in this series is seeing an African-American family in a suburban/rural setting, rather than an urban one.
Peachtree was recently purchased by a big company out of Shanghai and I was interested to see if there would be any changes, although the previous owner had said that it wouldn't affect the books published. The only difference I saw was a Chinese character on one of the blank pages - otherwise it's still the excellent series it's always been.
Verdict: This is a must-have series for your readers transitioning to chapter books and those who love mysteries and animals. Recommended.
ISBN: 9781682630525; Published March 2019 by Peachtree; F&G provided by publisher; Purchased for the library