cover image My Dog Is Better Than Your Dog

My Dog Is Better Than Your Dog

Tommy Greenwald, illus. by Adam Stower. Scholastic Press, $12.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-545-77332-4

Balancing a caustic friendship, a first crush, bullying, and snarky sibling dynamics (not to mention a potentially paranormal new pet), Greenwald (the Charlie Joe Jackson books) gets his Crimebiters! series off to a peppy start. Eleven-year-old Jimmy Bishop is obsessed with vampire novels and TV crime-fighting shows, and has long wanted a dog. When his work-consumed parents finally give in, Jimmy adopts a mutt named Abby from a shelter, soon realizing that she sleeps all day, sneaks out his bedroom window at night%E2%80%94and has impressive fangs. Could Abby actually be a "crime-fighting vampire dog"? Yes or no, the dog has a chance to demonstrate her heroic skills during a showdown with a villain who has stolen Jimmy's mother's diamond necklace. Lively dialogue and brief chapters punctuated by Jimmy's wry observations keep the story moving swiftly, while Stower's cartoons underline the comedic wisdom of some of the facts Jimmy collects ("Fact: Adults never eat the disgusting stuff they feed you.") and the madcap action that unfolds. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. Author's agent: Brianne Johnson, Writers House. (Sept.)