Young readers love books about dogs and Spencer Quinn’s series about Bowser and Birdie is no exception. “Bow Wow” is the third book in the series that began with “Woof” and continued with “Arf.” Adults might be familiar with Quinn’s series about Chet and Bernie, which features the fabulous detective dog Chet, whose narrative sounds suspiciously like that of Bowser.
In “Bow Wow,” there are a few villains in the story — one is an aquatic killer while the other is of the human variety. It’s summer, and Birdie is helping her grandmother at the Gaux family fishing business while still spending time with her friends. One friend, Junior, is determined to enter a contest for best song, and he wants Birdie and Nola, her best friend, to sing. Birdie’s singing is good enough to attract the interest of a Nashville promoter, but Birdie is reluctant to risk her friendships and take him up on the offer.
When a $50,000 bounty is placed on a giant bull shark who may or may not have swum upriver (can a bull shark live in fresh water?), every fisherman around is shooting sharks. This doesn’t sit well with a recently septuagenarian conservationist whose return to St. Roch results in his placing others in danger.
When Snoozy, the sometime-clerk at the Gaux Family Fish and Bait, disappears after being hired to find the shark, Birdie and Bowser are on the job. Young readers will find it challenging to read the clues that Quinn drops as Bowser narrates the story. Teachers might just use this book or excerpts from the story to teach inference.
Dog lovers and adventure lovers will really enjoy this middle grade romp aimed at readers from high third grade through middle school.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Scholastic Press, the publisher, for review purposes.