King's family is missing, and he's been put in the p-o-u-n-d. Why doesn't his beloved human, Kayla, come to get him?
When King is adopted by Connor and his mom, things get more confusing. The new family calls him Buddy!
Then Connor disappears!
Buddy (aka King) has some big problems to solve. Mystery fans and dog lovers will be swept up in Dori Butler's entertaining story about a smart, funny, loyal dog...and left eager for Buddy's next adventure.
A dog who solves mysteries sounds ridiculous, but Butler really pulls it off. I, uh, actually didn't guess the real ending, in a book marketed to 1st graders. Oops. I was thinking as an adult, and assuming the creepiest and the worst. That was not the case, thank goodness, or children would probably be traumatized.
That said, the book does deal with issues like kidnapping and dogs being put to sleep. I was impressed how these issues had the necessary gravitas but also had a nice emotional buffer, since they were seen through a dog's eyes.
Buddy/King is a great protagonist. His stream of consciousness is definitely dog (everything is his favorite food!) but not so overwhelming that it gets annoying. He manages to solve mysteries without straying into any realm of "Really!? A dog could do that?"
As far as being nominated for the Monarch award goes, I think it will suffer for being a chapter book. While the rest are big picture books, The Case of the Lost Boy comes in at 123 pages. It needs to be in a category between Monarch and Bluestem.
Four out of five nameless cats.
Release Date: March 2010
Reading Level: Grade 1+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: MONARCH