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UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: SOMETHING FISHY

What to know: Enjoy the mysteriy solving Upton Charles, a very likeable and entertaining dog who shares his innermost thoughts with the reader.
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
Recommended age 8-12
Book
NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
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UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: SOMETHING FISHY cover image
Every hero needs a vacation, so dog detective Upton Charles and his family set off to visit Maine. Upton Charles makes a new furry friend named Storm on this adventure. All is well but, there is a boat anchored nearby for a couple days and nobody knows what or who it is yet alone why it is anchored there. Upton Charles and his new assistant, the dog Storm, step into the mysterious case. Though Upton Charles is small, he is capable of handling the big world.

The vocabulary and content of this story is a bit more difficult than in the first book of this series. I like that Upton makes a new friend who helps him on the case and keeps him company while everyone else is very busy. This gives the viewer the opportunity to explore a whole new personality. I like how the author makes the situation that Upton is investigating very unusual. In the first book of this series, the story was a bit too predictable. In this one, it's much more interesting. The author describes each scene so that I can visualize exactly what it looks like and I could really understand what was going on in the story. I like that the book goes into more depth describing each character's personality, especially Upton's.

The author marginally describes the case that Upton is investigating and the clues escalate a bit too quickly for my taste. The author takes too long on the introduction and then squishes all the clues together. There isn't as much suspension as in the first book but, in many ways, I like this one better.

The moral of this story is that if you work really hard and are determined then you can achieve anything. I recommend this book for the ages 7 to 10 and rate it 4 out of 5 stars. By Hailee H., KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 12

This is a story about Upton Charles, a dog detective, and his family as they head out on a family vacation that turns into solving a mystery. Upton Charles is a likable dog who tells this story from his dog point-of-view. He is also a solver of mysteries. It's fun to follow Upton as he finds the clues and solves this mystery.

After some sibling squabbles, the family heads to Maine. The friends they stay with have a dog named Storm. They explore the beach and readers will learn lots about boats and parts of boats. The mystery starts out a bit slow and then, around the middle of the story, it takes off when the family finds an abandoned vessel. The middle and ending flow together as the mystery unravels and they discover the clues to solve the mystery.

This story is entertaining. There is humor and action and it is very appropriate for school-aged children. Younger children may want more visual appeal and not as many words but for older kids, it's perfect. It is fun to follow the mystery of the abandoned (stolen) vessel through to its ending. There are some educational elements such as learning about different types of boats and houses.

One of the appealing aspects of this book is the mystery. The other is that the main character is a dog who thinks out loud as the narrator of the story. Upton Charles is an intelligent and insightful character that children will enjoy. Note, he is not a talking dog, just a dog whose thoughts we can hear. Children will easily relate to the characters in this story, particularly the mom, dad, boy and girl. But, Upton Charles is, without a doubt, the most entertaining of them all.

The language is most appropriate for ages 8 to 12. It is somewhat believable that a real dog may be thinking some of the things that Upton Charles thinks. The brother and sister do not always get along which is quite realistic. Overall, the family members are very respectful of one another and the other characters as well. There is also a display of teamwork.

It may stimulate conversation with younger readers with questions such as: What were the clues that Upton Charles found? How did they know there was a mystery to be solved? How did Storm help Upton solve the mystery?

Visually, I would have liked a more colorful cover. But then, you can't always tell a book by its cover. It is a chapter book but it is a short chapter book. Most important is that it is fun to read and engaging. Upton Charles is very entertaining. I'm sure kids will want to seek out more stories about him.

Upton and the rest of the Charles family are on vacation in a small coastal town in Maine and something VERY fishy is going on. Along with his new friend, Storm, the dog detective discovers an abandoned boat near Shell Light. Upton puts his nose to work sniffing out clues...which lead to the secret of the lighthouse. Our inquisitive canine, a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"), helps answer a tricky question: What's real and what's fake? Follow Upton as he gathers evidence and puts together pieces of the puzzle to solve the mystery in Something Fishy.
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