Move over Encyclopedia Brown: KING & KAYLA AND THE CASE OF FOUND FRED (Cybils Nominee)

Thank you to Peachtree for the review copy of KING & KAYLA AND THE CASE OF FOUND FRED, which was provided so the Easy Reader/Early Chapter book Cybils panelists could evaluate it. All opinions are my own. 

King (a golden retreiver-ish looking dog with the archetypal loving, enthusiastic doggy personality) and his human Kayla are vacationing at Grandma’s house when they find a little white dog lost in the bushes. 

To King, the white dog is Fred, who got scared during fireworks and hid in the bushes while camping with his family.

To Kayla and Grandma, Little Dog has no collar and nobody in the neighborhood knows him. 

The dogs don’t speak Human and the humans don’t speak Dog. But everybody knows they all want to get Fred home, and find a way to work together. 

At 46 highly illustrated pages and four chapters, this book is visually a great way to get picture book readers less intimidated about levelling up. Let’s face it, a lost dog wanting to find his family is going to keep most kids turning pages. 

This book is part of a series (this is the first I’ve read); King and Kayla’s mysteries look like you can read them out of series order. 

Loved

  • Kayla uses deductive reasoning and scientific thinking to solve problems, without actually saying the words “STEM” or “science”. That’s right, you can have a strong, intelligent female character who aspires to a police career, not one in science. Hooray! 
  • The back-and-forth of the dogs knowing way more than the humans but struggling to communicate it was beyond entertaining. 
  • Race is neither mentioned nor part of the story, but based on Nancy Meyers’ just-enough-texture watercolor (?) illustrations Kayla’s family is Black. 
  • Myers’ illustrations knit together King’s knowledge gaps with the reader’s common sense, giving just enough hope. Spoiler: Of course Fred finds his family. 

KING & KAYLA AND THE CASE OF FOUND FRED is available now from Peachtree.  

Congrats Dori and Nancy on your nomination! 

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