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The Spotted Dog Last Seen

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  120 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
While tracking clues from a secret code penciled in the margins of mystery novels at a public library, Derek Knowles-Collier discovers a time capsule, an unpublished author and a gravestone that may finally put his haunting past to rest.

At Queensview Elementary, grade-six students are required to complete a community service unit as part of their school curriculum. Derek K
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by Groundwood Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

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Sixth grader Derek missed school the day assignments for community service were handed out. Along with two classmates who become his friends, he is assigned one of the less savory projects--to repair parts of the local cemetery. Working there stirs up memories of the death of a young friend, Dennis, many years ago and his guilt over his part in that death. As he and Merrilee and Pascal learn about tombstone rubbings and the toll taken by the environment on grave markers, they also stumble upon a ...more
Mrs. Strudthoff
May 11, 2015 Mrs. Strudthoff rated it it was amazing
Derek and two of his friends Merilee and Pascal are assigned graveyard repair work for their service project. He's not happy about this assignment because he thinks it's gruesome and certainly won't be any fun. He also is afraid of this work because a few years before, he saw is best friend get struck and killed by a car, and he still has nightmares about it.

But Derek finds that the lessons he learns about gravestones and their symbolism are actually interesting. He also makes friends with Creel
Sarah Butland
Apr 04, 2015 Sarah Butland rated it it was amazing
A brilliant tale of forgiveness and acceptance wrapped in a mystery and the love of dogs.

Have you ever felt insecure growing up? Avoiding potentially great friendships because of how it make look to others? Then learn how foolish all the worry and avoidance really is?

A delightful read which had me rooting for all the characters and remembering days of self-discovery through elementary school relationships. Both Trevor and Loyola are self conscious about their height but for opposite reasons. Car
Carolyn Arrington
Mar 18, 2014 Carolyn Arrington rated it liked it
During the 6th grade school year, Derek and his fellow students are required to perform several hours of community service. Because he was absent the day his class signed up Derek gets assigned to the Twillingate Cemetery Brigade, headed up by Mr. Creelman and two other elderly gentlemen. Although Derek is reluctant at first, he and several classmates learn the art and science of caring for the cemetery. In the process Derek and his friends discover a mysterious code hidden in a series of librar ...more
This was a fun read; well-written, with an intriguing mystery to be solved by the main characters. I loved the 'full-circle" connections presented though the main story arc, as well. My only complaint was I found it a bit unrealistic these students were in grade 6 (and doing things like getting to cemetery duty on their own). But it's just a fictional story, so really it's a minor issue. Kids would relate well to the characters, I think, which is why the author likely chose them to be of grade s ...more
Erika Janni
Jan 19, 2015 Erika Janni rated it liked it
This book was super good and was very interesting. At some parts I got confused with everything, but than once i continued reading, a lot of it made more sense. This book was about this boy, he came across a carved stone lamb. And he had seen one before, but he was in shock. It was very good! And everything basically stopped. He had no voice, and the birds didn't make a sound. This book was such a good book and I really enjoyed reading it! It was like a mystery about everything. And why it happe ...more
Megan Hunt
This book was amazing! Full of fun mysteries and secret codes. At the beginning of the book I wasn't really "hooked in" but by the end of the book with that giant plot twist I had no reason not to be hooked in! I think it would be fun to solve all of those clues like Pascal, Merrilee and Derek. It would be an awesome adventure at best. I wonder what Derek thoughts were when they started finding the clues in the books. I really loved reading the book and hope to read more of Jessica Scott Kerrin ...more
Elissa Schaeffer
May 15, 2014 Elissa Schaeffer rated it liked it
Derek was home with pink eye the day the students of his class got to choose their community service assignment, which means he got stuck with what was left. And what was left was cemetery duty. Not good for a sixth grader who still has nightmares about the day his friend and neighbor was struck by a car and killed when he was very young. But he goes anyway, and is assigned with Merilee and Pascal, neither seem too bothered by their assignment--in fact Merilee is happy about it. But the lessons, ...more
Derek is out with pink eye on the day that his class is assigned their community service projects. So he gets stuck with Cemetery Duty. He meets every Wednesday either at the library or the cemetery across the street. They meet the Cemetery Brigade, 3 grandfatherly men who appointed themselves in charge of care for the graveyard and therefore in charge of the Cemetery community service project.

But Derek starts having nightmares about his past. Working in a cemetery and encountering gravestones t
When Derek was a little boy, he witnessed the death of one his friends. When he is assigned to work at a cemetery as part of the sixth-grade service project, Derek is worried that he will be haunted by memories from the past. Derek soon discovers that there is more to the cemetery than old tombstones. The cemetery director, Creelman, might be a little creepy, but he has a lot of strange and interesting knowledge and Derek, in spite of his misgivings, is learning a lot about cemetery care. On rai ...more
Colette Dufault
Mar 03, 2014 Colette Dufault rated it really liked it
Shelves: myrca-2015
A clever mystery where Derrick is volunteering in the local cemetery for school credits. Haunted by a death in his past, Derrick learns all about gravestones and epitaphs. He and his friends stumble upon a mysterious code found in books at the library and they set off to solve the clues. Creepy factor is good without being frightening and the case resolution is both surprising and moving. Recommended for middle grade readers.
Hailie Bienvenu
Nov 06, 2014 Hailie Bienvenu rated it liked it
I didn't really like this book until the end because I don't really like mystery books. I kind of find them boring. I got really into it towards the end and finished it really fast. I liked the end, it was more interesting for me. In this book Derek has to spend time and the old cemetery for a school project. Him and some other people have to find secret clues in novels from the library.
Jul 17, 2014 Brooke rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
While filling a service project for school, Derrick and his companions clean a cemetery, find a mystery book with a mysterious code, solve a mystery, and Derrick is able to move past the tragedy that consumed his childhood.

This book even has its own secret code - which I did not solve. Oh, well. Let me know!
Jan 29, 2014 Margi rated it really liked it
I picked this book to read for a presentation. I am so glad I did. LOVE IT!!! I am a taphophile so it has special appeal for me, but it is a great mystery for Young Readers. The 3 kids are great characters and the mystery they solve is so different from other Young Reader books. It mixes young generations with older generations and I found that very refreshing. I only wish cemetery duty was offered as community service was offered in more schools and it is a great learning tool of history. This ...more
Dec 18, 2013 Yapha rated it really liked it
I love a book with a lot of twists and turns that all ties together neatly at the end, and this one was great! For the last three months of Grade Six (yes, this takes place in Canada), each student does some type of community service each Wednesday afternoon. Unfortunately, Derek was out with pink eye when they were picking assignments, and ends up on cemetery duty. This might not be so bad, except for the recurring nightmares of an accident that he witnessed as a young boy. By the end of his th ...more
Aug 22, 2014 Awjtf rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
interesting book about a cemetery,3 middle school kids doing community service at the cemetery and finding clues in Library books. What does this have to do with The spotted dog last seen? Read the book and find out!
Jul 03, 2014 Karen rated it liked it
Shelves: friendship, mystery
Cautious as to who I will recommend this book to. I liked the writing style, but it deals with the trauma of a 6th grader remembering when his friend was killed when he ran out into the street when they were 5 years old, and how working in a cemetery and learning about the tombstones helps him process the event. Fun characters, touching moments and a mystery is woven throughout the story. Grades 4-5 because of topic.
Jun 27, 2016 Jeanette rated it it was ok
This book was far too Canadian, and not Canadian enough. Too Canadian with the odd expressions like whatnot – used over and over. Not Canadian enough because you didn’t even know that the story happened in Canada and not the US. I also thought it was quirky – why mention Merilee’s plastic bunny and carrot jacket every single time she appears in the story if it isn’t an important part of the action. I did like the story – the relationship between Creelman and Derek, and the way they were all conn ...more
Feb 03, 2015 Tiffany rated it really liked it
I'm not a mystery book lover but this book was fun. It wasn't obvious where it was going but easy to follow. It was complex in a good way.
Apr 27, 2014 Amanda rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-vrc
I enjoyed the mystery and how it all tied together in the end without being forced, but think it may be a little deep for many 3-5 graders.
"The Spotted Dog Last Seen" felt as though author Jessica Scott Kerrin was trying to incorporate every quirky habit and piece of information that she could into one story. Grade Six student, Derek, participates in community service work at the local cemetery where him and two classmates work to break a secret code that they discover. In the process, Derek finds peace with a childhood tragedy. The story had too many convenient coincidences for my liking, but overall a good mystery novel.
Due to th
Feb 06, 2014 Janine rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book and am now getting my 11 year old daughter to read this book.
Jesse Figuera
Oct 08, 2015 Jesse Figuera rated it it was amazing
super interesting and beautifully written.
Karen Arendt
This book is more than just a who done it mystery. Sure, there is the mysterious code left in the library book that Derek, Merrile, and Pascal try to solve, but for me, the real mystery is the haunting nightmares that Derek experiences due to a tragic accident when he was younger. Why does he still have nightmares? Why does he feel responsible? How do all these characters connect to the tragedy? This was a fulfilling story with plenty of heart and some interesting tidbits on cemeteries.
Lots of convenient coincidences make this book work, but I still felt it hard to put down.
Anastasia Tuckness
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It was a "regular book" about a boy who has to do volunteer work in the cemetery. He meets other classmates as well as community adults. Over the course of the book, he works through his own grief about a childhood event and also works with his new friends to solve a mystery. Readers who like puzzle-style mystery books that are also realistic will enjoy this one.
Jonine Bergen
Jan 04, 2014 Jonine Bergen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-canadian-ya
An quirky tale by a great storyteller and an extremely satisfying ending. Protagonist is in grade 6 - best for grades 4-6.
Apr 07, 2015 Meghan rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
This book is funny, sweet, deep, and clever all at the same time. I looked forward to reading it every night.
It has received national award nominations, and is well deserving of such attention.
Penny Ella
Jul 11, 2014 Penny Ella rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-shelf
A very interesting book. I really liked it. It is different to stories and that's good. I give it full ratings.
Apr 24, 2016 Kris10 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-books
Very good story. Interesting facts about gravestones and markers. And, a Halagonian to boot! Recommended.
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Jessica Scott Kerrin is a Canadian children’s writer who is best known for her fiction books for boys, including an eight-book series called Martin Bridge, a trilogy called The Lobster Chronicles, and two new mystery novels called The Spotted Dog Last Seen and The Missing Dog is Spotted. Literary critics from Horn Book, Kirkus Starred Reviews, School Library Journal, the Toronto Star and the Globe ...more
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