Greenwald, Tommy. It's a Doggy Dog World
October 11th 2016 by Scholastic Press
After taking down the gang in My Dog is Better Than Your Dog, Jimmy and his dog Abby are back. The Crimebiters group is looking for mysteries, but there aren't too many, so Jimmy reluctantly joins the lacrosse team with Baxter. He turns out to be surprisingly good, but there are some issues. Their coach is thinking about going to another league, and their field is so unkempt that players keep getting hurt. Jimmy enjoys lacrosse to a certain extent, but would rather be hanging out with Daisy. His mother has insisted that Abby go to obedience school, and this changes Abby on many levels. She is very calm and seems to lack the vampire-like qualities that were intriguing and yet frustrating. Adding to the general odd and off feeling, Mrs. Cragg is reformed and back babysitting. As the injuries continue to mount on the lacrosse field, Jimmy brings the Crimebiters into his world of sport in order to figure out what is going on.
Strengths: Greenwald never disappoints, and is one of the few authors I will buy without reading! I really liked how Jimmy got involved in a sport even though he was reluctant, and how he ended up liking it! His interchanges with his friends are realistic, and his family is intact and supportive, which I also appreciate. The dog training is also not covered enough in middle grade. The fact that Jimmy is able to forgive Mrs. Cragg and see that she is lonely and sad is great as well. I have a lot of fans of the first book, so they'll be glad to see this one.
Weaknesses: The mystery in this one was on the weak side. Going from taking down a criminal gang to having the lacrosse field sabotaged was disappointing.
What I really think: Always interested to see what Greenwald has in the works. Plus, I'm fascinated by the information that in Dutch, Charlie Joe Jackson is Otto-Jan.
Keene, Carolyn. The Phantom of Nantucket
September 23rd 2014 by Aladdin
Nancy, Bess and George travel to Nantucket for a short break and to visit Bess's cousin Jenna, who has an internship at a whaling museum there. The exhibit on which Jenna has been working is vandalized, leading Nancy to use her investigative skills to determine what is going on. They find miffed interns, a director who is selling scrimshaw to antique stores, a rival museum with an irritated founder, and many other people who might want to sabotage Jenna. So much for vacation!
Strengths: This incarnation of Nancy Drew, along with the similarly decorated Phoebe Rivers books, are hugely popular. I have some 6th grade girls who are reading these, along with the Secrets of the Manor series. It tickles me, because I know that they will grow up to be avid readers of cozy mysteries!
Weaknesses: I was not feeling this particular story, even though I am oddly intrigued by Nantucket. Might have gotten distracted wondering about what children's book I read 40 years ago that got me so interested in the place. Doubt I'll ever get there!
What I really think: Finally put books 8-15 on my list to purchase. Even when they are no longer the hot ticket, they will be good to have on hand.