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Author: Wick Downing

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Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008

Material: hard cover

Summary: Kate Hope becomes the world’s youngest lawyer, and begins to practice law with her grandfather. She takes on a case where the defendants want a dog destroyed because he allegedly attacked a baby. Can Kate prove the dog is innocent ... especially after her grandfather winds up in the hospital? This is a crime mystery for students from fourth to eighth grade.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 9 and up; read yourself: 10 and up

Interest Level: 9 and up

Reading Level: 5

Adult Reader Reaction: I thought this book had a positive message, but was far-fetched.

Pros: This book had a strong, smart 14-year old girl for its main character (Kate).

Cons: The biggest con is that this book Kate acts like an adult, and really does nothing that a 14-year old girl would do. She spends all her time being a lawyer. Her mom is a weak character, which bugged me.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. It’s a good read for girls who like stories about strong female characters. It is a positive story, but there are some elements I could have done without — one of the minor characters is a mentally challenged drunk, and the reoccurring theme that women can’t be lawyers (this Book is set in 1973).


Educational Themes: This book offers information about the US judicial system, but it is hard to tell where fact leaves off and fiction begins. I am not sure if it’s accurate or not, because most of the events did not seem like something that could really happen.

Notes: A Reading Tub® volunteer submitted this review. She borrowed the book from the local library.

Literary Categories: Fiction - mystery, family, 1970s, grandparents, death and loss, middle grade, crime

Date(s) Reviewed: April 2010

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