Sunday, July 11, 2010

Penny & Rio: The Mysterious Backyard Meeting

Reviewed for Review the Book
Publisher:  Mirror Publishing

An award-winning debut adventure series for young children, this book not only gives the child a pair of unlikely investigators, but delivers a message as well. Much like a chapter book with very short chapters, it can be read to younger children, or used as an early reader. Jennifer Swanson is really onto something with this mystery series.

The two investigators, Penny and Rio, are two dogs with different personalities. When Penny discovers a mystery in their new backyard, she wants to get to the bottom of it, fast.  But Rio doesn't want to bother, saying it's not their business. When Penny sees a cat and an owl sitting and talking together she knows that this is not quite right. Birds and cats shouldn't be together, there has to be something more to it. And what about the other animals who seem to be involved, too?

Penny finds herself a hiding place where she can keep an eye on what is happening. She is careful because she has already been in trouble over the barking she did and had to sleep in the garage. Penny doesn't give up trying to solve the mystery, though.  When she overhears the plot, or part of it, she tries to talk to Fifi, the dog next door, to warn her about the animals' plans, but Fifi doesn't believe her.

This is an excellent book for children  Smaller than a regular chapter book, an early chapter book, the story has enough laughs, enough mystery, enough investigating to keep their interest, illustrations on almost every page, and a surprise ending, all in one lively little book. I know my grandchildren will be looking for the next one! Dog lovers especially should enjoy the antics of Penny and Rio, and the other animals. Illustrated by Rosita Schandy and Neal Wooten.  Recommended for children, parents and grandparents;
Ages 3-7

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