Fifth grader Amy Prochenko gets the surprise of her life walking to school one day. A dog tells her that he is in trouble and needs help. Amy can't believe what she hears--did the dog speak or is she crazy? Actually, the dog is super-intelligent F-32, an experiment from the local college who has run away because of an evil professor's plan to dissect his brain. A slapstick series of events ensues, from Amy's convincing her parents to keep the dog she redubs Sherlock, to keeping Sherlock's identity--and ability--secret, especially from stuck-up Kaitlyn, who bullies her every day. Her lies eventually spiral out of control, culminating in more misunderstandings. While there are a few comic scenes--particularly one in which the parents come to school and learn how to make Ukrainian eggs--the plot and characters are fairly well worn. When a biology department head marches in at the last moment to solve an abruptly sprung mystery, readers get overlong explanations instead of the rousing ending they've waited for. Fans of Vande Velde (Curses, Inc., 1997, etc.) will miss the vigor she's brought to her other fantastical musings.