An Edgar Discovery

The Edgar Awards for best mysteries will be announced at the gala banquet here in New York tonight. Of the five finalists for Best Juvenile, the Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy, by Dori Hillestad Butler (Albert Whitman & Co.) is the only title for younger readers (the rest are for middle-graders).

What! You don’t know the The Buddy Files?

Full disclosure. Neither did I. I tossed my review copy aside as soon asI realized that it was written from the point of view of the dog — to me, a tired conceit. But I was so wrong. I picked it back up a few days ago and read through the whole series of five in almost one sitting. I COULD NOT PUT THEM DOWN! I fell in love with Buddy, his new family, the neighbors who include the Cat-With-No-Name, aloof and smart, and his best dog friend, Mouse, a really big black dog (I’m thinking a Newf).

The voice of Buddy the dog is charming, engaging and perfectly honed. He IS a dog, not a smug, erudite human construct of a dog. Buddy is a mystery solver of the class of Encyclopedia Brown, Cam Janson and Einstein Anderson. In book one, the first mystery is – why was he left at the P-O-U-N-D (dogs don’t say that bad word)? Buddy has the deductive reasoning of Sherlock Holmes but the easily distracted nature of dog. He follows his nose and we do too.

The breezy style of the writing, short chapters and quiet humor of these books make them the perfect transitional readers for kids who have outgrown Nate the Great, want a mystery but have “read everything.”

The Facts:

The Buddy Files by Dori Hillestad Butler, Albert Whitman

1. The Case of the Lost Boy, (3/1/2010)

Newly adopted from the pound, Buddy (formerly King) investigates the disappearance of his new boy.

2. The Case of the Mixed up Mutts, (3/1/2010)

Some people claim that all dogs look alike. Was the switching of these two pugs at the dog park an accident or something more suspicious?

3. The Case of the Missing Family, (3/1/2010)

Buddy has been trying to figure out for the last two books what happened to the family that put him in the animal shelter. He finally finds a clue.

4.The Case of the Fire Alarm, (3/1/2011)

Bullying rears its ugly head at the elementary school where Buddy works as a therapy dog. Can Buddy get to the bottom of the mystery of the pulled alarm?

5. The Case of the Library Monster, (3/1/2011)

Buddy discovers a blue tongued monster in the school library.

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