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Reviewed by Patricia Reding for Readers' Favorite
H.Y. Hanna has delivered, in Big Honey Dog Mysteries #1: Curse of the Scarab, an animal story, an otherworldly fantasy, and a mystery (complete with hieroglyphics) all wrapped in one, that is sure to please young readers. When Honey, the Great Dane, is left home with a sitter who brings along Bean, her own Great Dane puppy, Honey learns what it is like not to be the “only dog.” At first reluctant to share her space and affections with the pup, Honey soon discovers the joy that comes in doing so. But, difficulties arise when Bean goes missing while the neighborhood dogs and their humans are gathered at the local park. Indeed, Honey learns that Bean is just another of the many puppies that have gone missing of late. And thus, the sleuthing begins!
Hanna has created interesting and genuine characters with Honey and her dog friends: Ruffster, the supportive mongrel; Suka, the strong Siberian Husky; Tyson, the courageous Jack Russell Terrier; and Biscuit, the ever-hungry Beagle. Together they learn a lesson about prejudice when at first they suspect Max, the Pit Bull, of being behind the mystery of the missing pups. They learn how to work together, using the strengths of each when they finally uncover the whereabouts of the missing pups that need to be rescued. They suffer the reality of bullying when Max is attacked by the dogcatcher, experience the grievous loss of one of their own, and finally, they are able to celebrate a mission accomplished.
Big Honey and her friends will most certainly entertain children. They especially will be delighted by the manner in which the dogs speak to one another, with words and phrases such as “iBone” for the “iPhone,” “missing pawson” for “missing person,“ and “my Dog!” for “my God!” Adults too, will enjoy the story, as who could deny the fun and unique humor of such things as the manner in which the dogs leave messages for one another — through peemail, no less. There is a magic to speaking to children of the age that would be drawn to read Big Honey Dog Mysteries, and H.Y. Hanna has fully and completely captured it.