Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Mary Labatt and illustrated by Jo Rioux

Age Range: 7 - 11

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-55337-822-8
Publisher: Kids Can

Samantha, the mystery- (and junk food–) seeking sheepdog, and her human friend Jennie, who can hear Sam’s thoughts, head off with the family to a secluded lake island for a weekend getaway. Along with Jennie’s best (human) friend Beth, they find a girl’s journal from 1937, which hints that there is evil afoot on the island. While exploring a cave, they meet what must be lake monsters and barely escape. After a late-night campfire, the threesome tries to snap photos when the monsters return and accidentally discovers the truth behind the spooky occurrences. For their second graphic outing, Canadians Labatt and Rioux adapt the sixth book in the author’s Sam: Dog Detective series, Secret of Sagawa Lake (2001). Sam’s attitude and fumbling detective work are made even more enjoyable through the artist’s panels, which ably mix the styles of manga and Western comics. The main mystery has the right level of scare to keep the pages turning, but the lack of resolution in the mystery of the journal makes this tale less than totally satisfying. Purchase for series fans and hope the next is more complete. (Graphic fiction. 7-11)