From School Library Journal
Grade 3–5—This entertaining story, based on Labatt's Spying on Dracula (Kids Can, 1999), blends mystery with gentle spookiness to create a satisfying whole. Samantha is a charmingly self-centered sheepdog who fancies herself a detective. After moving to the small town of Woodford with her owners, she quickly bonds with Jennie, the 10-year-old next door, who has the unique ability to hear Sam's thoughts. When Jennie and her friend Beth take Sam to the scariest house in town, inhabited by the reclusive McIver, the trio begins to investigate the man's odd behavior. It isn't long before his actions, and Beth's imagination, lead them to believe that he's Dracula. As is often the case with childhood fears, the facts are not as mysterious, or as spooky, as they appear. The black-and-white artwork is anime-inspired. While not remarkable, the crisp, effective illustrations pair nicely with the well-paced writing, giving the story a smooth flow. The presence of three intelligent, brave female characters will make this title appealing to girls.—Travis Jonker, Dorr Elementary School, MI
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Sam is a sheepdog and a detective, but she is nothing like classic scaredy-dog Scooby-Doo. She doesn’t like having to move to a new town, worries about making friends, and loves to eat weird food combinations that her owners don’t want to give her (such as popcorn with ketchup). Her neighbor and walker, 10-year-old Jennie, can hear Sam’s thoughts, and they get along well. When Jennie takes Sam for a walk and shows her the spookiest house in town, they decide to investigate the reclusive owner, Mr. MacIver. When they see men delivering a large, long box, and they see a strange creature working in the basement, they think MacIver might be Dracula. This graphic novel is an adaptation of Labatt’s prose novel Spying on Dracula (1999). There’s just enough creepiness and suspense for younger readers, with simple yet expressive art that stays just on the lighter side of spooky. A nice choice for young mystery fans looking for graphic novel options. Grades 2-4. --Kat Kan
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