Hero Dog!: A Braches Book
(Hilde Cracks the Case #1)
By Hilde Lysiak with Matthew Lysiak, Illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Published by: Scholastic Inc. (September 12, 2017)
Available in: paperback, library binding, Kindle, NOOK
At the time of this review, there were four books in the Hilde Crack the Case series.
Hero Dog! is the first book in a newer series featuring a crack reporter with the best kind of curious mind, a bent for sweets, and an animal lurking in the wings.
From a newly independent reader’s standpoint, this is a delicious caper. The action is fast, funny, and flushed out. There are maps, unique plot lines that cover unexpected components such as chickens, cupcake icing, and “mean-agers” (teenagers with rotten attitudes). And our hero, the inquiring, clever nine-year-old Hilde, is both likable and relatable.
For parents and teachers, there’s a whole lot more to this book than its cover. First, the authors are an interesting duo: the real-life young Hilde Lysiak and her journalist father. As a book reviewer, I get a lot of inquiries to review books by the young set, usually published by their parents. These books tend to be nice mementos of a child’s passion at a certain moment in time, but they also tend to be not ready for prime time. But this series is no juvenile effort—professionalism in every aspect rules the day, from story structure to art direction. For my taste, there’s a few too many exclamation marks, but that is an exuberance easily understood for readers at this age level.
The reporting side of the story adds a tone of expertise and education that is remarkable. Vocabulary words such as deadline, source, witness, and confirm are both explained and examined in action. Critical thinking and the dogged pursuit of facts are shown by example. The serious business of journalism, police work, pie baking, being a kid, acting with kindness, and recognizing the motivation for crime are examined.
Put it on the front page: this is a Pulitzer Prize-style winner for the chapter book set.
What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….