The Artsy Mistake Mystery

208p. (The Great Mistake Mysteries: Bk. 2). Dundurn. Aug. 2017. pap. $8.99. ISBN 9781459738805.
Gr 4–6—The second book in McNicoll's series celebrates dogs, art, and mistakes. Seventh grade dog walker Stephen and his best friend Renée aim to discover who is stealing neighborhood art installations in their small Canadian town. First, a handmade mailbox disappears, only to be followed by a realistic Halloween display, a garden statue, the school Stream of Dreams fish project, and an antique gun. As they walk their mismatched hounds, Ping and Pong, the young sleuths encounter the varied personalities in their community. Anxiety-prone Stephen finds solace in counting the mistakes he and others make throughout the day. Bossy Renée escapes the tension in her own home by sleeping over at Stephen's and knitting with his dad. Readers will root for the pair to prove Renée's brother, Attila, innocent and to protect Ping from another teen's evil machinations. Their friendship endures moments of conflict and demonstrates that real friends help one another while also accepting one another's differences. The deliberately paced story will demand that readers pay close attention to keep the many characters straight. Told from Stephen's perspective and in a voice that oftentimes is more mature than that of a typical 12-year-old, the tale depicts warm and supportive family relations.
VERDICT This heartwarming read for canine, art, and mystery lovers is a solid supplemental purchase for middle grade collections.

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