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What to know: Quick and Charming Story.
Recommended age 5-12
39 minutes
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Super Scary from the Upton Charles-Dog Detective series is a quick and charming story. The perspective of the dog makes one re-imagine the way our pets might think and communicate. I love the mixture of sass and charm that Upton brings to his narration. My favorite parts of the book are when he outsmarts the many human friends in his life.

Super Scary follows a dog named Upton as he sleuths around to solve the mystery of an allegedly abandoned house. Upton and the book's readers are spooked by the lights that are on, even when no one is home in this possibly haunted house. Although Upton continues with his daily, friend-filled life, he grows more and more curious about this unsolved mystery. Is Upton the only one who thinks this house is paranormal? Is this a mystery Upton must take upon himself to solve?

Because this book is told from the dog's perspective, it is an easy and enjoyable tale for younger book-lovers. Each character in the story is unique and brings their own twists to this mystery. Upton is an easily likable protagonist that every reader will root for. Similarly, Upton's friends, Phoebe and Watson are amiable and adorable! Although the book starts slowly, the reader never really knows what is going to happen next making it a page-turner. The language is understandable for kids over the age of seven, but some words may be difficult for kids under that age who are reading alone. A special part of this entire book series is that each chapter has a distinctive illustrated image that may be compelling to children.

This book caters to beginning readers who are looking for a fun and engaging story, especially to read with their families.

I give Upton Charles-Dog Detective: Super Scary 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 11. It is available online where books are sold.

By Nyara A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Super Scary is an amazing book in the point of view of a dog and how a dog might see the world. This dog however is especially interesting because he's a "dog detective". It's even in the name of the series! Upton Charles: Dog Detective. Yes, series. This is the 10th book in the popular series. Upton Charles loves solving mysteries. That's why he's called a dog detective. That... and the fact that he's a dog. This next mystery is particularly intriguing... It involves the Old Nicholson place.

When Mr. Nicholson died, he provided in his will that the place be maintained exactly as it had always been. The lawn mowed. The shrubs trimmed, and even the windows washed. A cleaning lady comes once a week... It's almost as if the house is still occupied. It might be a little strange to most people. But it's just that. A little strange. To Upton, it's a whole mystery that he insists on figuring out. His mind goes crazy trying to! What if it's a haunted house? There's a ghost? What if...? The story shows a peek into the life of Upton with his owners, mom, dad, and the twins: Alex and Veronica, as well as the cat: Watson.

The plot has a very good idea behind it and there are some funny parts I really liked: "My least favorite place, the mall. They are so mean there. Once, I remember, Mom took me to the mall to do some shopping and they wouldn't even let me in. Imagine that! Me! I can tell you, I was outraged. But they were firm, so I had to sit in the car for almost an hour. You can bet I'll never go back again." That had me laughing. It made me wonder if my dog has the same thoughts as Upton when we go for a walk or when she stays home only with our cat... really just how she sees everything. I think overall it's a great book and I can completely understand why it's a ten-book series (so far!)... However, I wasn't the biggest fan of the ending. The book was a little slow and I felt like it was building up to the ending... and then it kind of disappointed. I haven't read the other books but I surely will now and maybe even D.G Stern's other works... this book really was very well done. I loved it.

The theme of this book is the life of a dog. It's an interesting theme that should maybe be explored more often. It's a very good idea and very well-executed. There is a moment when the twins kind of twist the truth to their parents. They don't outright lie but they're not exactly honest. This is not the best message for young kids.

Super Scary is a wonderful book. I rate it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 9. It will be available for purchase in August 2022 at, Barnes & Noble, and other places where books are sold.

By Alma K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

coming soon
There's a nip in the air and that means raking leaves, pumpkin picking and Trick or Treat. It also means ghosts and goblins and other scary things. Not really, especially if you are a canine-super sleuth with a feline assistant. My name is Upton Charles and I am a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"), a little white dog, with well-honed detective skills. Together with Watson, and the entire Charles family we are surprised to find that a house in the neighborhood has been vacant for years, but it is being maintained like someone is living there. This can be a bit creepy, especially during Halloween. Join Upton in unraveling the mystery of the abandoned house in Super Scary.
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