Dog Squad: The Newshound
128pp., pbk., RRP $A15.99
Eva has always wanted to be a journalist, and, together with her friends Simone and Ash, the she produces the Newshound newspaper for her school readers. While they’ve written a few stories, there hasn’t been anything really significant, so when she finds a stray dog outside her home, Eva thinks she might just have found her first case.
The dog follows her home but living in a block of flats where pets are banned is problematic and although her mum says it can stay overnight, secretly Eva has other ideas. The dog, which she determines is a whippet, is so thin she calls it Wafer and even though tracing its owner might offer The Newshound its biggest story yet, Eva soon realises that she might not want to get to the bottom of the mystery after all – because won’t that just mean she just has to give Wafer back?
Even with its English setting, this is a story that is going to resonate with a broad audience of young newly-independent readers because if they are not budding writers like Eva and her friends wanting to get to the bottom of these sorts of stories, then they are animal lovers whose hearts reach out to stray, mistreated creatures that so clearly need a home. They may even be non binary like Ash and enjoy seeing themselves in a story affirming their identity. As well as being an engaging read, it also provides food for thought as it raises issues about the treatment of animals by humans, from breeding in puppy farms for profit to their disposal when they are no longer wanted, perhaps even inspiring some to delve deeper.
And just to top it off, it is the start of a new series, with The Race scheduled for early 2024, so readers have something to look forward to. While they wait, they might like to meet Dotty Detective, a series in a similar vein of young girls solving mysteries.