I "bought" this book when it was free on Amazon.com.au back in January. Now that I go to leave my review there, it doesn't even appear so I don't know whether you'll be able to go and find the book for yourselves. This is just my honest opinion.
When Honey finds a message amongst Christmas things, she's worried that someone might be in danger. She groups her friends together and they hunt for the author of the message and do their best to help.
The mystery aspect of the book was interesting and the problem was solved with a reasonable amount of investigation by the group. It was a quick and easy mystery which allowed the characters to follow the clues. Though, it's a bit weird that because Jones (the groundskeeper) comes from outside, he must be the next clue...? They then find themselves in his cottage where they find the solution. I know it's meant to be simple, but I think how characters find solutions in these things still ought to be logical... Moving on, the characters are all somewhat stereotypical and none really have any original qualities. We have a smart one, an angry one, a hungry-all-the-time one, etc. I don't think there's anything really interesting in any of the characters and, because of the (short) length of the novel, we don't really get a good look into them anyway. They're very forgettable.
There are morals in the book that mean I wouldn't want to read it to a child. My first example is the (very stereotypical) character of Biscuit. Because he's always hungry and often looks for food, he's mocked and bullied by his "friends". So, they've gone to the library to search for the translation to the message on the paper. Yet, when they look in one book, it then gets covered in drool. Which they then just close and walk away from. That's a pretty poor way to treat the property of someone else. More to the point, it's a non-fiction book and some child could really have used the information from it to learn. It's just a poor way to treat a library book. There's no excuse for it. I know it wasn't deliberate, but I think it falls under the lack of care by the owners' (which I'll talk about further in a moment). That the dogs are destroying school property. They attack another character just because it's not the same species. I'll explain. When they're in the library, to get what they want from the cat, they bully it and even try to abuse it physically. Esentially what happens is that they want the book that it's sitting on. One of the characters walks up and shouts abuse at it. Soon after, it's suggested that they just assault the thing and take the book. So, when a character can't get what it wants, they just bully, shout abuse and then steal the object they want? Yeah, that's a great moral to teach to any child...
My other main problem is that the owners of these dogs must be pretty stupid. I think the stupidest idea was to take them to the school in the first place. After that, they kick them out of the room and the dogs are given free reign over the school and manage to barge themselves into the library, damage a book and try to attack the cat. At which point, they damage property. They then get out of the school, without the adults knowing. They could have gotten killed if they'd run out into the road and gotten hit by a car. They could have been dognapped, picked up by dog catchers or something. Later on, one of the dogs even manages to find and eat chocolate. At which point, he needs to get to a vet. They were lucky to attract the attention of someone who could help. I just can't help but think that these adults were all somewhat irresponsible. If you can't take care of your dog in public, don't bring it out with you. They're lucky that none of the dogs were got into more serious trouble and that Biscuit didn't die.
I am pretty disappointed in the book. I was originally expecting a good, short read. Yet, the book definitely falls short. The things I'm most bothered by is the owners' poor attention and ignorance to the trouble their dogs are causing. I certainly don't appreciate the bullying that the book tries to support in the twisted attempt at humour. Overall, it was bearable, but I certainly won't be recommending it. Two stars.