I've found a new love. I have. It is a (relatively) new series called Jack Russell: Dog Detective. The books were originally published in Australia. Kane/Miller (wonderful publishers that they are) have begun to publish them in America. This is a very good thing! The books are by Darrel & Sally Odgers.
The first in the series is called Dog Den Mystery. The books feature a dog and his human. The dog, Jack Russell, and his human, Sarge. (The Sarge has an Auntie Tidge that Jack adores.) The book opens with them moving to a new neighborhood. All seems to be well, until Jack realizes that there is a thief in the neighborhood. First an old boot, then his squeaker-bone, then his blanket, then his food bowl. The thief must be stopped! Can Jack solve the case and find his missing stuff??? Can he get Sarge to notice that things are not the way they should be?!
This is an early reader that is sure to charm dog-lovers and mystery-lovers of all ages. But it is geared towards younger folks of course. (I'm thinking second graders on up, unless you've got a super-clever first grader that can read these kinds of chapter books on their own. Everyone is different.)
The official site: http://www.jackrusselldogdetective.com/
Here is a brief excerpt from chapter one.
Cars have windows. Dogs have noses.
When these things come together, one must be stuck out the other.
This is a fact.
While my ears flapped, I made a ***nose map.
Jack’s map …
(1) Pass sausage factory.
(2) Pass a yard where someone buried a bone last March.
(3) Turn left near the house where someone ate chops for breakfast.
(4) Pass a house where three cats live.
(5) Big dog alert!
(6) Pass pizza place (consider return trip to check for cheese).
(7) Turn left near house with three little kids. Just the right age for dropping biscuits.
(8) Pass porch with old boots.
(9) Left at empty house. Suspect rats. Must check later.
Sarge turned past the empty-house-that-might-have-rats. He drove down two blocks and stopped the car.
‘Here we are, Jack.’
I grabbed my squeaker-bone and jumped out.
Ilanded on an old boot that smelled of dog.
*Paw thing; up on hind legs, paws held together as if praying. Means pleased excitement.
** Squeaker-bone. Item for exercising teeth. Not to be confused with a toy.
*** Nose map. Way of storing information collected by the nose.