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Noah Green Junior Zookeeper fans, I’ve found a new book I think you’ll love! The Strange New Dog by James D. Witmer features mystery-solving pets. Need I say more? Animal-loving chapter book readers will be hooked after this first installment of Allen Family Mystery series.

The Story

The Allen family pets–two dogs, a cat, and a parrot–plan to welcome the newest canine member of their family. But they are in for a surprise. Not only does the new dog, Henry, obviously not want to be there, he claims that he was kidnapped. Then, when Henry and the youngest Allen boy disappear, the remaining pets must band together to find them, solve a mystery, and their humans from getting hurt.

What I Loved about The Strange New Dog

  • Snappy dialogue and well-drawn characters–I hate to say this, but sometimes chapter books can be boring. Not this one! Witmer’s animal protagonists are lifelike, taking their characteristics and personality from the real-life breeds they are based on. Their dialogue is fun, and each character has a unique way of speaking.
  • Various personalities working together–The five Allen pets have very different personalities and abilities. I love how they come together when it’s important to help the family. It gives kids a model for working together with others whose personalities are different from their own.
  • Gentle mystery and suspense–This book hit the target for this age group. It has a small amount of peril and mystery without crossing over into scary.

Parents Should Know

With only mild peril, there’s very little parents need to be concerned about. A child and pet do go missing, and there is some concern they may have been kidnapped, but all comes right in the end.

Many of you know I’ve been disappointed about the fact that the next Noah Green Junior Zookeeper book, Save the Cave, has been delayed, but I hope my readers can enjoy The Strange New Dog in the meantime!

Witmer is also the author of A Year in the Big Old Garden, which is one of my 8-year-old’s favorite books (she loves the audiobook version). So if your kids enjoy books about animals, be sure to check out that one too!

What chapter books have your kids loved?

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