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Monday, July 4, 2016

Jasper John Dooley: Public Library Enemy #1, written by Caroline Adderson and illustrated by Mike Shiell. Kids Can Press, 2016. $16.95 ages 7 and up

"The next day, Ms. Tosh read aloud again from the Cheeky the Squirrel book. As soon as Ms. Tosh said the word ballet, Jasper flopped onto his table. He put a finger on the stopper part of each ear and pressed it again and again. That way Ms. Tosh sounded like she was reading underwater.

"Glub-glub-glub. Glub-glub-glub." 

Do you know a 'Book Killer'? If not, you will meet two of them when you sit down to read this sixth book about Jasper John Dooley and his family and friends. While it stands alone as a terrific story, it is so much more fun to read as a huge fan of the entire series!

This time, Jasper and his best friend Ori discover a program at the public library that invites young readers to come on in and read to Molly the Dog. They can't wait; they are too late on the first day. Jasper carefully watches as others read to the dog, all the while thinking that Molly is not enjoying it much. She wears a permanent frown. He knows that he can find the perfect book to make her happy. He is on a mission.

He is certain he has found just the right book and is reading it in the bath. You know where I'm going with this, don't you? It isn't bad enough that the book falls in. His father tries to help by putting it in the oven to dry out. You know where I'm going with this, don't you? The book starts on fire; it's the fire extinguisher's turn to do its job. Poor book!

Jasper's dad agrees to pay for the book when the library sends a bill. Jasper is a bundle of nerves over the whole mess, and is quite sure he cannot possibly go to the library to read to Molly without first returning his book. He must make some money. That is when the misunderstanding about cost and the real panic set in. He will never be able to save $2500! Not understanding the decimal system is a deterrent to his knowing how much money he will really need to replace it! Luckily, it's Ori to the rescue with his math knowledge, allowing Jasper to take a deep breath and know that things will eventually work out for him, but not before a few very funny episodes.

What about reading to Molly? Will he ever get a chance to read to her (and practise his reading skills, of course)? As in the previous books, Jasper has a charm that will have readers rooting for him every step of the way. Text and illustrations are much appreciated and perfectly matched.

Just right for early readers, and highly anticipated by any kids who have read other Jasper books, this book is a sure-fire winner. It will not find its way back to your library shelf until it has made the rounds. Read it at home on these long, lazy summer nights ... you will laugh out loud and your kids will beg for more of the same.

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