The can-do kids of Raccoon River help find a home for a stray dog.
First grader Lili Tucker has found a dog—or as she puts it to third grader Brandon, who walks with her to elementary school each morning, “a dog found me.” Not telling her parents, because her mother doesn’t like dogs, Lili hides “Spunky” in the shed and asks Brandon to help her figure out what to do. Brandon enlists the help of his friends, the very competent Hannah and Nico, and another Raccoon River adventure begins. As in Blueberry Bonanza (2017) and Extravaganza at the Plaza (2018), the children brainstorm to achieve a goal—this time to find Spunky a home. There are setbacks, but the kids persevere with spirit and determination, involving their community, and eventually all turns out even better than they’d hoped. Newcomer Lili joins Hannah, Nico, and Brandon, whom readers are familiar with from previous books. Earnest and plucky, Lili is a treasure—a perfect fit for author Wohl’s direct, uncomplicated, dryly funny writing. Illustrator Tuchman’s black-and-white spot illustrations are straightforwardly just right, breaking up the text visually for young readers. Hannah, Nico, Brandon, and Lili are shown as white, while other people illustrated have darker skin tones, and one mother-daughter pair are shown wearing hijab.
With pluck and community spirit, the Raccoon River Kids get it done—another winner. (Fiction. 7-10)