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Hero Dog!: A Branches Book (Hilde Cracks the Case #1)

Review

Hero Dog!: A Branches Book (Hilde Cracks the Case #1)

Written by Hilde Kate Lysiak with Matthew Lysiak and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

Debut author Hilde Lysiak made quite the stir when she reported on a murder in her hometown in her self-owned newspaper, Orange Street News. Reporting on crimes such as these may seem like a normal event for a newspaper, but there is something very different about Orange Street News: its owner, Hilde, is only 10-years-old.

After Hilde's story went viral, the ambitious young reporter scored her first book deal, resulting in a four-book series. Aimed at younger readers, the series, Hilde Cracks the Case, follows a fictionalized version of Hilde as she solves local mysteries. HERO DOG! is the first installment.

"Filled with plenty of fun illustrations and really cute clue checklists, HERO DOG! is the perfect read for curious young detectives-in-training."

In HERO DOG!, there has been a robbery on Orange Street. First some cupcakes go missing, and soon a delicious pie is missing, too. Along with her sister/photographer, Izzy, Hilde begins to track down clues by interviewing witnesses and exploring the scene of the crime. Although this is clearly a watered down version of a “real” robbery, there is a conflict here, too. The Selinsgrove Bake-Off Bonanza is rapidly approaching and Hilde fears that the robber is out to sabotage the entire event. Of course, as with any journalist, Hilde is struggling to meet an important deadline so that she can post her news story online. Will Hilde crack the case in time to both save the Bake-Off and get her story posted?

Filled with plenty of fun illustrations and really cute clue checklists, HERO DOG! is the perfect read for curious young detectives-in-training. Hilde is a fantastic role model for young readers, and possesses none of the overly-witty, clearly-written-by-an-adult dialogue that detracts from so many middle grade protagonists. To put it simply, she reads as though she were written by a real child --- in the best way.

Adults, particularly teachers and librarians will treasure the clearly laid out Table of Contents, map of Selinsgrove, Reporter’s Toolbox (a cutely-named vocabulary list) and notes pages interspersed throughout the book. By including these, and emphasizing the traits of a real reporter, HERO DOG! will encourage young readers to think about their own writing and problem-solving skills, without any of the boring tedium of a textbook.

As the first installment of Hilde Cracks the Case, HERO DOG is a huge win. Lysiak is clearly destined for great things and I eagerly looking forward to the next installment.

Reviewed by Audrey Slater on September 29, 2017

Hero Dog!: A Branches Book (Hilde Cracks the Case #1)
Written by Hilde Kate Lysiak with Matthew Lysiak and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

  • Publication Date: September 12, 2017
  • Genres: Animals , Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
  • ISBN-10: 1338141554
  • ISBN-13: 9781338141559