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The Spotted Dog Last Seen

Written by Jessica Scott Kerrin

  • 208 Pages
  • 9781554983889
  • from grade 4 to grade 6
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Action & Adventure
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Interactive Adventures
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Mysteries & Detective Stories



Publication Date July 29, 2013



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code penciled in the margins of mystery novels at a public library, Derek Knowles-Collier discovers a time capsule, an unpublished author and a gravestone that may finally put his haunting past to rest.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 Knowles-Collier was sick when groups were assigned, so he is stuck with what's leftover: landscape and repair duty at the local cemetery.

Derek is not happy about his assignment. When he was very young, his friend Dennis was killed by a car after running into the road to catch a ball. Ever since, Derek has had recurring nightmares, and he is afraid that spending time in a cemetery will make it even harder for him to sleep through the night.

It's a relief, therefore, when his group's lessons on all aspects of cemetery care are so interesting and strange that Derek just doesn't have time to dwell on his experience with death. And when it rains, the lessons take place in the nearby public library, which takes him out of the cemetery altogether, at least for an afternoon.

One day, a book arrives at the library, an anonymous donation that happens every year. On reading the book, Derek and his group mates find a secret code written on an inside margin. One code leads to the next, with the last code leading the students to a time capsule.

Through a series of discoveries and deductions, Derek and his friends discover who has been sending books to the library every year. They also discover the truth behind Dennis's long-ago death, which means that Derek is finally able to put his terrifying memories (and his nightmares) to rest.


Selected for the A New York Public Library Book for Reading and Sharing 2013

Short-listed for the CLA Book of the Year for Children Award 2014

Short-listed for the Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award 2015

Short-listed for the Rocky Mountain Book Award 2014

Short-listed for the Cocheco Readers' Award 2015


Jessica Scott Kerrin
Jessica Scott Kerrin is the author of the newly launched Lobster Chronicles series and the best-selling Martin Bridge series. In 2013, The Spotted Dog Last Seen was chosen by the New York Public Library as one of the best books of 2013. Born and raised in Alberta, Jessica now lives in downtown Halifax, Canada, and once owned a nutty Springer Spaniel who inspired this book.


Star Review

"Going far beyond mystery book conventions, Spotted Dog is also a well-told story of growth and self-forgiveness." School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

"Derek tells his own story, allowing readers to empathize with his fears and struggles as he comes to grips with them....Surprising twists and turns amid laughter and tears." Kirkus Reviews

"The author tells this story simply yet leads readers to several climatic sections with lots of twists and turns. This realistic fiction is well-written and well-developed." Library Media Connections