Inspector Ace and Sergeant Bubba - Book 2
by Mavis E. Smith
Trafford Publishing

"One Saturday, Missy surprised them by saying 'How are you?' Then she helped Inspector Ace pronounce the words 'Como estas?'"

In the first installment of the Ace and Bubba series, the clever canine duo were on a mission to return a baby tiger cub to the circus. Now in Book 2, Mavis Smith again entertains young readers with the wily adventures of the big German Shepherd and the little Pomeranian. Here in the interest of circumventing a trip to the pound, the two help a cute lost pup, with a strange accent, find her way home. Along the way they enlist the help of some fellow canines and a large farm horse named Big Red. Soon the pup is reunited with her owner, Mr. Gonzalez. When owners and their pet companions reconnect at the neighborhood dog park, the fun romp soon becomes a language lesson with an exchange of simple English and Spanish phrases. To further this bilingual crossover, Smith includes a list of more word translations at the back of the book.

In the spotlight of theatre and film, actors are often warned about being upstaged by children or animals during a performance. The caution seems equally relevant in the literary world, as here we see the focus of the story quickly move from Mr. Cody's rescue of the pup, to the four-footed Ace and Bubba taking the lead. The triumph ultimately goes beyond reuniting Missy and her owner, as the story also serves to highlight cultural boundaries and differences and engage readers in an opportunity of active learning.

The colorful illustrations provided by Earlene Gayle Escalona give a face to these furry detectives. In simple line and detail, the drawings readily capture the look and personality of the character breeds. A coloring page provides a nice added touch for reader participation. This is an entertaining story for parents or teachers to read aloud to children. More importantly it offers a glowing incentive for a young audience to explore new words that may soon become a part of the mainstream in our blended, melting pot society.

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