Fizz arrived for work at Sunnyvale City Police Station and straightaway smelled trouble. He’d never seen Sergeant Stern look so worried before.
I’d like to speak to you in my office,’ said the sergeant. Remi and Amadeus were already sitting by the desk.
‘What’s happening?’ whispered Fizz.
Ít’s a special undercover assignment,’ said Remi, swishing her tail excitedly. ‘Sergeant Stern called me in this morning. I think it has something to do with the Handbag Dognapper.’
Undercover police dogs have to keep their cool in all sorts of dangerous situations. And this time, it’s personal. Fizz is no stranger to the world of handbag dogs – his sister is the handbag dog for a famous actress, and is often seen at public events. Now, she is the third victim of the Handbag Dognapper. Fizz has to go undercover at the launch event of a new security collar. With the help of his undercover colleague, Remi, and regular police dog, Amadeus, Fizz has to discover who is stealing the handbag dogs and why. Early pages show the world where the mysteries take place and another spread introduces the characters who appear in this adventure. A contents page lists the named chapters and a full page illustration accompanies the start of every new chapter. Each opening includes illustrations.
Fizz and the Handbag Dognapper is Book 4 in a new series of chapter books from Allen & Unwin’ from the perspective of Fizz, a newly-trained undercover police dog. Fizz may be small, but like many small dogs, he has enthusiasm and energy to spare. He’s gutsy and clear-thinking, resourceful and happy to accept the help of his colleagues. Beneath the adventure and the humour, there is also cooperation, tolerance, and fair play. Newly independent readers can check the character pages to keep track of the larger than normal cast and pause at each chapter to predict what is likely to happen next. Recommended for newly-independent readers ready for a slightly longer chapter book but not yet ready to tackle unillustrated text.
A Police Dog Adventure 4: Fizz and the Handbag Dognapper, Lesley Gibbes Stephen Michael King
Allen & Unwin 2016
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller