Inspector Jacques, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

Snap! I had my Jack-jaws at his throat. A dog howled for mercy. That was me.
I backed away, chattering my teeth. The other dog smirked. I’d almost broken a fang on the metal studs in his collar!

Jack Russell is not impressed by Sarge’s houseguests – Inspector Cook from the Art Fraud Squad, and his dog, Jacques. The Inspector is on the trail of an art thief who has stolen a famous dog painting – and he suspects Sarge of being the thief. It is up to Jack to solve the mystery and make sure Sarge is not sent to jail.

This is the eleventh title in the Jack Russell: Dog Detective series, and features favourite characters from previous books as well as new ones, especially the humorous French-accented Jacques. With a mystery to be solved, some laughs and lots of intertextual elements including glossaries of unfamiliar words and Jack-Facts, this is sure to appeal to readers aged 6 to 10.

Inspector Jacques can stand alone, with an introduction which explains the series to readers who have not read the earlier offerings.

Inspector Jacques (Jack Russell, Dog Detective S.)

Inspector Jacques (Jack Russell, Dog Detective S.), by Darrel & Sally Odgers
Schoalstic, 2009

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Fowl Play, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

‘All I can smell is chook and soap, and cat,’ said Foxie. ‘There was a strange smell in the yard, but it wasn’t dog. Did you interrier-gate Shuffle?’
‘Not yet.’ I explained how Sarge had dragged me away from the crime scene. Foxie snorted, then sniffed under the door. ‘There’s that strange smell again.’

Something strange is going on in Dogeroo. Auntie Tidge and her friends have all bought chooks, and when the chooks are attacked, the dogs get the blame. But Jack Russell, dog detective is on the case, and he’s sure that his friends are not to blame. The problem is, he doesn’t know who is responsible.

Fowl Play is the ninth offering in the Jack Russell: Dog Detective series, a fun chapter book series for middle primary aged readers. Like the other books in the series, Fowl Play stands alone, although readers who have read the other stories will enjoy seeing favourite characters again and seeing relationships and individuals develop.

Jack is an endearing first-person (or first-canine) narrator, and the chaos of dogs mixing with chooks make this a fun story.

Fowl Play, by Darrel & Sally Odgers
Scholastic Press, 2008

The Kitnapped Creature, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

If you take one horrible familiar cat-erwaul
And add one familiar smell and one yelling human
You get one familiar monster cat.
This is a fact.

All is not well in Doggeroo. Sarge, Jack Russell’s human, is sick in hospital and Jack has come across a problem. Someone has kitnapped Jack’s old enemy, the Awful Pawful. Much as Jack fears the cat, he knows something needs to be done.

In the meantime, Jack has other problems. He has to take care of Preacher, the junior Jack who has come to live with him, and his friend Foxie is sulking and proving difficult. Can Jack Russell solve the case without Sarge’s help?

The Kitnapped Creature is the eighth title in the Jack Russell: Dog Detective series and is filled with the fun and adventure readers have come to expect from the series. For those new to the series, the book stands alone, but will tempt them back to read the earlier titles.

Suitable for readers aged 6 and over.

Jack Russell 8: The Kitnapped Creature, by Darrel & Sally Odgers
Scholastic, 2007

The Buried Biscuits, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

Jacks are nimble, Jacks are quick. Jacks are always ready for a scrap. I tugged free and snapped my jack-jaws around a hairy leg. Someone yelped. Sharp teeth closed on my tail. I yelped. Teeth clashed, ears flapped.

When Jack wakes up smelling biscuits, he knows something strange is going on. He goes to see his friend Foxie, but soon he and Foxie are fighting – because someone has thrown biscuits into Foxie’s yard. Now both of the dogs are in trouble, and soon every dog in town is grounded, because someone is stealing biscuits. Jack is determined to solve the mystery – after all he is a dog detective.

The Buried Biscuits is the seventh title in the very popular and highly entertaining Jack Russell: Dog Detective series, by Darrel and Sally Odgers. Narrated in the first person (or should that be first dog?) voice of the feisty Jack and sprinkled with Jack’s facts, Jack vocabulary and more, the story is bound to delight young dog lovers, aged 7 to 10.

The Buried Biscuits, by Darrel & Sally Odgers
Scholastic, 2007

The Phantom Mudder, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

Jack’s Facts
Dogs don’t do anything if there’s nothing in it for them.
People sometimes do.
That makes dogs smarter than people.
This is a fact.

Jack Russell is a fact loving dog. So, when there is a mystery to be solved he carefully establishes the facts then, with a dash of luck, comes up with a solution.

In the Phantom Mudder Jack visits a dog show, with his owner, Sarge. When dogs start turning up for their judging covered in mud, Jack senses a mystery and sets out to solve out. But who would want to mess up the dogs, and how would they do it?

This is the second hilarious title in the Jack Russell: Dog Detective series and is just as clever as the first. There are plenty of cute doggy illustrations, courtesy of illustrator Janine Dawson, and the use of a variety of text-types, including lists, glossaries and maps, which add an element which could be used for classroom purposes.

Loads of fun.

The Phantom Mudder, by Darrel and Sally Odgers
Scholastic Australia, 2005

Dog Den Mystery, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

I was running my ninety-fifth lap of the boring backyard. There was nothing else to do, except sleep in my basket and chase sparrows.
Then Sarge came home.
‘We’re getting a transfer, Jack’, he said.

When Jack Russell and his owner, Sarge, move to Doggeroo, he doesn’t expect to become a victim of crime. But he has no sooner unpacked his squeaker-bone than strange things start to happen. First an old boot disappears from the yard, then Jack’s squeaker bone is stolen. When his blanket and bowl disappear, too, Jack is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. Jack Russell, Dog Detective, has his first case.

This is the first instalment in a fun new series from the husband-wife team of Darrel and Sally Odgers. Readers aged 7 to 10 will enjoy the humour and pace, as well as the novelty of the first-person narration of the tale, from the point of view of the doggy hero.

Teachers and librarians will be attracted to the series also, because of its easy-read format, with large font and plenty of illustrations, and its use of different text-types, including lists, glossaries, maps and more, which could be used as teaching tools and springboards to writing exercises.

Dog Den Mystery is a lively, fun read and readers will look forward to the next instalment in the Jack Russell: Dog Detective series.

Dog Den Mystery, by Darrel & Sally Odgers
Scholastic, 2005