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Volume VIII Number 12 . . . . February 15, 2002
The pair of dog detectives, Lu and Clancy, having successfully solved another case, have decided to treat themselves to a week long ocean cruise and are joined by their friends, Ruckus, a Labrador, and Ruby, a dachshund. Part of the ship-board entertainment is a magic act performed by the feline Awesome Arabella. Because of the four dogs' interest in magic, Arabella teaches them each a trick and includes them in her show. However, Arabella's best trick she saves for herself - making herself and the passengers' valuable jewelry disappear, permanently. When the pair of dog detectives do locate the jewelry, they are caught by Arabella, trussed up and locked in a closet as the boat is reaching port. Rescued by their friends, the detectives, realizing that Awesome Arabella has secreted herself in a trunk that is being unloaded, prevent her from escaping and solve yet another case.
At best, the plot line is thin, but what will attract the young readers are the four simple magic tricks that Dickson includes, the ones Awesome Arabella taught the dog quartet. Certainly all of the tricks are within the performance ability of the intended audience.
An interesting way to share this book with an audience would be to have some students learn the tricks and then perform them at the appropriate points as the story is being read.
Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children's and adolescent literature in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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