Mystery on Magnolia Circle begins with what seems to be the worst summer ever. Ivy’s summer plans are disrupted when she breaks her leg at the start of summer. Her best friend Teddy is having it any easier as his dog is diagnosed with a terminal illness and has to be put down. But while Ivy is standing at her window, trying to make the best of the summer, she witnesses a possible burglary and that both kids off on a summer of solving a mystery — or is it?
Miss Lottie owns several “secondhand dogs” — dogs to whom she’s given a second chance. There’s Gus, the scraggly insecure pack leader, Tank the protective bulldog, nervous three-legged hunting dog, Roo, and the youngest pack member, Moonpie. She also has a cat named Ghost. When Miss Lottie brings home a new dog who wants to become the center of attention — and the only dog at home for that matter — the peace at home is threatened.
Pawcasso is what 11-year-old Jo names the basket-toting dog in town when a group of kids at the library mistake her for the dog’s owner. Jo is a lonely kid bored at home during the summer holidays and missing her father who works in a different city and visits the family periodically. She’s seen the dog walking through her neighborhood several times. The dog goes grocery shopping and can find its way home through pedestrian traffic and everything in town. As the kids fall more in love with “Pawcasso,” and by extension, Jo, she begins to enjoy having friends in her life. But what happens when the lie is exposed?
The best middle grade books about dogs and their owners often warm readers hearts, whether or not they’re dog lovers. Although I already have a list of middle grade books about animals, it was only right to make one just about dogs! This list includes books written from the dogs’ perspective and those about the bond shared by a tween and their dog.
Cyrus Olson does not think he’s “brave like that.” He’s not brave like his adoptive firefighter father who was also a star football player in his day. Although he plays football for his school team, he does not enjoy it, and would much rather be doing something else, but he’s afraid to let his dad (and the town that knows him to be an Olson) down. But Cyrus gets some motivation to stand up for himself and his desires when a dog is abandoned at the fire station (just like Cyrus was).