Early Chapter Series: The Buddy Files by Dori Hillestad Butler

There are two subjects that as a librarian I can count on to catch the interest of almost any child.  One of those subjects is animals and the other is mystery.  Kids love mysteries.  The series I'm spotlighting today is a great one for younger readers (6-8).  The detective is the dog (yes, you read that right). The latest book in the series is highlighted below.  The rest of the books in the series are:

The Case of the Lost Boy

While searching for his mysteriously lost human family, King the dog detective is adopted by another family, who names him Buddy. Buddy succeeds in solving the mystery of their missing boy.

The Case of the Mixed-Up Mutts

Buddy wonders what has happened to his first family, but right now he's got another urgent case--two dogs, Muffin and Jazzy, have been switched. How can Buddy get poor Muffin and Jazzy back to their real owners?

The Case of the Missing Family

Buddy has settled in with his adopted family, but he still misses his original people. When he sees a van taking things out of his old home, he decides to make a daring journey to find his original owners. 

The Case of the Fire Alarm

Buddy starts work as a therapy dog at his new family's school, but when the fire alarm is pulled, he must investigate to see who made the false alarm and why. 

The Case of the Library Monster

 Buddy is in the school library, and kids are taking turns reading with him. While Buddy listens to a ghost story, he hears rustling in the shelves behind him. Something smells strange. Not human, not canine, not like anything Buddy has ever smelled before. Could it be a monster? 


The Case of the School Ghost (The Buddy Files #6)
by Dori Hillestad Butler
Albert Whitman & Company, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8075-0915-9
Grades K-2

Reviewed from copy provided by publisher through NetGalley.

When therapy dog Buddy attends the fourth grade sleepover in the school's library, he solves the mystery of the school ghost. 

This is a fun early reader series perfect for children interested in dogs and mysteries.  Interestingly, the mystery-solver is the dog, Buddy (formerly King).  Buddy is the one telling the story and I felt like the author did a great job of sounding like a dog.  For example, Buddy loves almost any kind of food, calling it, his favorite food, same with his toys, etc.  While the book can be read on its own, it works best to read the mysteries in order because while each mystery is different, the story is one ongoing one.  I like the fact that the series functions as one long story, makes it seem more lifelike (not that dogs talking is lifelike, although the dogs can only understand each other, people don't speak dog).  There is plenty of action and humor, enough to satisfy a beginning reader.  The book is short enough not to be a huge challenge, but long enough to provide a nice mystery.  These books would also make great read-a-louds.  

NOTE: I've read some reviews recently that expressed concerns about some of the content of this book.  The first issue is the scene where Connor is supposedly talking to the ghost using a glass jar and a paper with letters on it.  This may be of concern to some parents.  Since Buddy figures out pretty quickly that Connor is making the glass move it didn't bother me, but it might bother some people.  The second concern was about the lies that Connor and his friends tell his mother (the principal).  I do agree that that is wrong and should be discussed, also there doesn't seem to be any consequences for these lies, which may bother some readers.


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