Cousins Lulu and Mellie are best friends. In this modern-day, seaside adventure, the girls are vacationing with Lulu’s parents and their beloved old dog, Sam. Having rented a cottage from a persnickety owner, the family hopes for the perfect week full of reading, kite-building, and marathon-training. However, a wayward stray bounds into their lives and turns their plans upside down (along with a few trash cans along the way). McKay hits the nail on the head in this beginning chapter book. Children will delight in the story of how this thieving menace turns into a brave hero and loyal friend, wiggling its way into the hearts of the characters and readers alike. This book is just right for youngsters ready for chapters, with cheerful black-and-white illustrations on almost every other page. Younger children will also enjoy this story as a read-aloud. The plot is universal and the vocabulary hints of a European setting. Family members sticking together to overcome obstacles is the prevalent theme and the happy ending is hoped for, if not expected. This title should be a staple in any early-chapter-book
collection. —School Library Journal. Grades 1–3.