CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 3 . . . .September 28, 2007
The Sausage Situation. (Jack Russell: Dog Detective; #6).
Darrel & Sally Odgers. Illustrated by Janine Dawson.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2006.
78 pp., pbk., $5.99.
Detective and mystery stories.
Grade 1-3 / Ages 6-8.
Review by Tanya Boudreau.
Right, Jack, I asked myself. What small dog would steal sausages?
That was easy. Any dog that was not respectable.
That left a pawful lot of suspects.
Right, Jack, I thought. What small dog could steal sausages?
Before I would answer that, Polly Smote trotted past. It certainly wasn't her.
"Out you go, Polly," said Jill Johnson from inside the tent.
Polly trotted out again. "What do you want, Jack Russell?"
"I'm working on a case," I said.
"Someone is going to steal sausages. When I catch the pupetrator I shall bark for backup."
The sausages are not safe at Dog and Sausage Day. The meat need to be monitored at all times because there is a thief lurking nearby, and it has an insatiable appetite! It looks like another job for dog detective, Jack Russell. Using his nose maps, his Jack-jumps, and his superior intelligence, Jack is sure to capture the thief dog-handed.
Jack hears a yell, but, before he can intervene, the sausage boxes are all over the ground! The fox terrier next door managed to trip the deliveryman, and now one box of Aunt Tidge's sausages is gone to the dogs. Foxy now has a taste for sausage and a desire for more. He soon develops a belief that the remaining boxes are his terrier-tory! When Caterina Smith comes into Aunt Tidge's house and takes the boxed sausage right off the kitchen table, Foxy goes crazy. "She's stealing my sausages!" "Stop her, Jack!" Lord Red is the one that tells Jack the sausages are destined for the Dog and Sausage Day- a fun day for dogs and kids that takes place at the friendly school.
At Dog and Sausage Day, Foxy cannot keep quiet about his pursuit of the sausages. When all the other dogs hear there are sausages nearby, chaos ensues as all the dogs but two forget their manners. It's hard to be a dog detective at such an event because the frying onion smells mess with your nose, your main detecting sense! But it's more difficult when your semi-reliable source is feeding you misleading information and using the other dogs as distractions. The thief may have gotten what he wanted, but not all of it. Jack may be the cleverer dog after all!
Jack Russell has a vocabulary all his own, and the definitions can be found in the glossary at the end of each chapter. Words like Pawsed, Ig-gnawed, and Su-paw-rior are all part of Jack's language, and he uses these words when he's narrating his story to us. Jack Facts are also listed in every chapter. These are statements and truths about dogs that he clarifies for human readers. Jack's Nose Maps are illustrated and labeled in the story, a device that allows readers to follow Jack's detective skills via his nose. Most chapters include a half page black and white illustration, and these are great way to see the dogs in action. Chapters are seven to eight pages long, with an illustration of Jack beside each chapter title. The font for the page numbers looks like dog scratches, and paw prints can be seen on some of the pages. These additions and details will make the book very appealing to children.
Young readers will enjoy solving this mystery, and learning more about Jack and his friends. His dog friends include Polly the dachshund, the squekes, and Lord Red. His human friends include his landlord Sarge and Aunt Tidge. Unfortunately, Fat Molly Cat from the library is not in this book. You can read more about her in The Lying Postman book.
Australian writers Darrel and Sally Odgers have been married since 1979. Together, they have written The Sausage Situation, the sixth book in their "Jack Russell: Dog Detective" series. Their dog Ace was the inspiration behind Jack. Time Detectors was the first book they wrote together.
Dog books like these with eye-catching covers won't sit on library shelves for too long. Parents and children are sure to pick them up, read them, and then return them asking for more.
Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.
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