Review

Legend of the Ghost Dog

by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

Twelve-year-old Tee is thrilled to spend spring break in amazing Alaska while her dad researches his new book. It’s the perfect place for photography and exploring with her dog, Henry, two of Tee’s favorite hobbies. Unfortunately, her mom has to work in Japan at that same time and can’t join them, which means Tee has to look after her little brother, Jack. While most of the time Tee doesn’t mind helping out, she is looking forward to some serious alone time for some awesome hikes with her dog.

"Extremely charming, this middle grade mystery will hook readers with endearing characters, shadowy unknowns and the captivating Alaskan culture, including dog sledding details."

Unfortunately, Tee’s plans don’t exactly pan out like she’d originally hoped. First, her father leaves Jack in her care far more often than she’d like, and she is growing increasingly disgruntled; it’s so not fair being taken for granted! Second, Tee meets a new friend named Quin, who turns out to be unexpectedly awesome! Together, Tee, Quin and Jack stumble into a mystery when they cross paths with a 100% real ghost dog!

The girls dig in deep to try and figure out the identity of the mysterious ghost dog, but time is running short. All too soon, Tee and her family will be leaving to return home. Both Tee and Quin feel that the ghost dog needs assistance of some sort, and that they can do something to help…they just need to figure out what that something is. Unfortunately, their clue hunt leads them out into the wilderness where they find themselves stranded in a blinding blizzard. Now they may not live long enough to help anyone, including themselves!

Elizabeth Cody Kimmel is the talented author of quite a few books for young people, and LEGEND OF THE GHOST DOG is another winner. Extremely charming, this middle grade mystery will hook readers with endearing characters, shadowy unknowns and the captivating Alaskan culture, including dog sledding details. I knew I’d like Tee from page one when she declares that there are a lot of things she’d like to be in life, but ‘normal’ is never one of them. She also loves dogs, hiking and reading --- a character after my own heart. Tee also begins facing some anger issues with her parents taking her for granted, which eventually leads the family into breaking some communication barriers. Many readers may connect with Tee’s struggles and be inspired to further communication in their own families. The author also cleverly uses the story-in-a-story technique, alternating Tee chapters with another character named Dodie who reminisces about growing up in rural Alaska with her sister and a very special sled dog named Caspian. Dodie’s story unravels to become a very important part of Tee’s present day mystery, all wrapping up into a bittersweet ending. This story is pure clean fun and Elizabeth Cody Kimmel is an awesome contributor to the young people’s literary world.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on November 28, 2012

Legend of the Ghost Dog
by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

  • Publication Date: November 1, 2012
  • Genres: Children's, Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • ISBN-10: 054539127X
  • ISBN-13: 9780545391276