She was a little bit disappointed–she loved a good mystery.

Scout and her friends at Bark Park are back in an all new novel, Scouting for Clues illustrated by Paige Pooler. This is certainly an excellent book to read to any child who is an ardent dog lover and a great start for some middlegrade readers. As before, I truly adore the artwork and found the stories and characters quite cute. I wouldn’t say these are my favorite middlegrade books, but Epic! Originals definitely does a decent job at providing fun and engaging stories for young readers.

Scout would have eaten the abandoned blueberries, but they were evidence.

Just as the previous book existed in episodic-like chapters, so too does the second. Scout returns in the first chapter with The Missing Blueberries, a quick mystery regarding the disappearance of Scout’s favorite snack once she and her human arrive at the dog park. The story and mystery are both super simple and fairly obvious to the older reader, however I can definitely see young kids engaging with the who did it plot.

This is also a fantastic story to use to teach new readers to the idea of foreshadowing, as the culprit is referenced very early on. It certainly isn’t my favorite story or anything, but it’s definitely not bad.

“This was my favorite type of leash. Every morning, after my human went to work, I practiced opening the clip. It took me a whole week to figure it out. But once I did, I could unclip it really fast!”

Eh, I’ll be honest, I really didn’t like The Leashed Puppy. Now, there’s something to be said for the idea of making mistakes and fixing them. However, the fact that this puppy potentially had her life in danger bugged the heck out of me. Especially when it all happened because the dog park friends didn’t understand why a precaution was being taken and decided to just…remove it.

I don’t think this sends the best message to children in the end. Even if the book exists as a sort of learning opportunity and there’s a fantastic little guide at the end to explain why some dogs need to be leashed for their own safety, if a young reader just skips over that one they’re sort of missing the most important message.

“Sprinkles has a new…thing on and we’re trying to figure out what it is.”

The Mystery Material is the least educational of all the stories, I think. Paired with the blurb at the end of the book it’s a nice little piece of learning–regarding how small dogs might need to wear sweaters to keep warm. But, in truth, this story made the whole “mystery” aspect of Scout’s personality just a bit more annoying than usual.

It’s actually really sad, for me at least. I like Scout, the main character, the least out of all the dogs in the book. I just generally don’t care for her love of mysteries. It’s not very…dog-like. And yet, all the other dogs have very dog-like personalities. I think the lack of continuity with this is a bit annoying. But, eh. That might just be me.

I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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