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The Best Mistake Mystery
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The Best Mistake Mystery
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Some people count their blessings, but dogwalker Stephen Nobel counts mistakes. Dogwalker extraordinaire Stephen Nobel can get a little anxious, but his habit of counting the mistakes he and everyone...
Some people count their blessings, but dogwalker Stephen Nobel counts mistakes. Dogwalker extraordinaire Stephen Nobel can get a little anxious, but his habit of counting the mistakes he and everyone...
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Description-

  • Some people count their blessings, but dogwalker Stephen Nobel counts mistakes.
    Dogwalker extraordinaire Stephen Nobel can get a little anxious, but his habit of counting the mistakes he and everyone else makes calms him. His need to analyze gets kicked into hyperdrive after two crazy events happen in one day at school: the bomb squad blows up a backpack and someone smashes a car into the building.
    To make things worse, that someone thinks Stephen can identify them. Stephen receives a threatening text. If he goes to the police, his favourite dogs, Ping and Pong, will get hurt. The pressure mounts when his new best friend, Renée, begs for Stephen's help. Her brother has been charged with the crimes and she wants to clear his name.
    Is it a mistake to give in to dognappers? How can he possibly save everybody? To find out, Stephen will have to count on all of his new friends.
    CCBC's Best Books for Kids & Teens (Fall 2017) Selection

About the Author-

  • Sylvia McNicoll has written over thirty-five novels for young audiences, including Body Swap and the Great Mistake Mystery series, inspired by her own errors and dog walks with her grandchildren. What the Dog Knows is a tribute to the many dogs she's loved. She lives in Burlington, Ontario.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 20, 2017
    In this lightly diverting kickoff to the Great Mistake Mysteries trilogy, seventh grader Stephen Noble documents the mistakes he believes he is prone to making. After school, Stephen works for his father’s dog-walking company, which opens up a whole new world of potential gaffes. Though Stephen’s mistakes are quite minor (they include jumping to conclusions at a fire drill and accidentally dropping a bag of dog doo in a recycling bin), he tends to worry and overanalyze each one. McNicoll (Best Friends Through Eternity) uses her character’s nervousness to tell a broader story about threats, pitfalls, and human error. Danger hits close to home when a bomb squad is called to Stephen’s school, and a car crashes into the gym; Stephen and his assertive friend Renée investigate. As Stephen slowly gains perspective on threats both real and exaggerated and begins to see his attention to detail as an asset, he might persuade a few worrywarts to rethink their outlook. Though it’s not the most suspenseful of mysteries, readers (especially those with a soft spot for dogs) should look forward to Stephen’s future adventures. Ages 9–12.

  • Kirkus

    November 15, 2016
    A bomb threat leads to early school dismissal and leaves Stephen entangled in intrigue.Stephen likes to count his mistakes and has a tendency to read too much into things. These qualities don't make him a favorite of his grade-seven classmates, but they do make him especially fit to solve a crime involving a rogue Volkswagen Beetle and a bomb threat. Additionally, Stephen has just been entrusted with his first dog-walking job. The boisterous dogs, Ping and Pong, are mismatched in size, hard to control, and irresistible. When Stephen is an unwitting witness to a serious incident, the dogs become a target of threats. Stephen begrudgingly allows his classmate Renee, the only other student as brainy and perhaps less popular than he, to assist him in figuring out the culprit and protecting the pups. Counting his mistakes throughout the day as a kind of deductive reasoning, Stephen gradually arrives at the culprit from among the likely suspects of the all-white cast of characters. Stephen is a slightly older Encyclopedia Brown plunked into a modern-day, unsavory scenario. The school violence is treated oddly lightly, so the balance of tone versus content is off-kilter. The descriptions of canine exuberance, however, are delightful and the best parts of this quick read and first in a promised mystery series. Readers who can get past the tonal quibbles will appreciate seeing how this class geek discovers that some of his brainy quirks make him a fine budding sleuth. (Mystery. 9-12)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    December 1, 2016

    Gr 4-7-A heartwarming mystery that illustrates that mistakes are not always a bad thing. A small Canadian town experiences upheaval when the local school seems to be terrorized by a mysterious person. New dog walker extraordinaire Stephen has been anxious about surviving middle school since his best friend moved away. After he finds out why his school was closed for the day, his dog-walking misadventures lead him to Renee, the class know-it-all, who soon enlists Stephen's help in solving the mystery before her brother, a notorious teen prankster, gets blamed for the latest troubling series of events. The pair set out on a quest to clear Renee's brother's name. While readers may find the story line interesting, the tone and characters are bland and the ending is less than thrilling. However, some readers may appreciate that everything works out in the end. VERDICT Fans of classic mysteries and dog lovers will enjoy the Canadian setting, the dog walking service, and seeing characters learn from their missteps. A secondary purchase.-Jessica Bratt, Grand Rapids Public Library, MI

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    December 15, 2016
    Grades 4-7 Middle-schooler Stephen Noble makes a lot of mistakes. Sometimes they are small, like accidentally pocket dialing his father while helping with the family dog-walking business. Sometimes they're medium, like forgetting he's wearing Green Lantern boxers when he changes for gym. And sometimes they're huge, like last night, when he was standing by his window watching a strange vehicle drive around his school parking lot. The next morning, that car is found crashed through the school wall, and Stephen begins receiving threatening texts to keep his mouth shut. Clearly someone thinks he knows more than he does. Can he solve the mystery before the threats turn to action, or will that be another big mistake? The stakes here are fairly low, the threats never feel dangerous, and the ending is not entirely satisfying in its quick succession of reveals. That said, the story is as fun and frisky as the dogs that Stephen walks, and it's refreshing to see both an affectionate father-son relationship and a sweet coed friendship represented so genuinely.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

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    Dundurn Press
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