penny-and-rioPenny and Rio: The Mysterious Backyard Meetingby Jennifer Swanson, illustrated by Rosita Shandy and Neal Wooten


Penny and Rio are two dogs who are complete opposites. Penny is curious and always on the go, while Rio prefers a good nap. At their new house, Penny discovers that their backyard is the meeting place for several different animals. Penny doesn’t know why a cat, a groundhog, a squirrel, and an owl could possibly be meeting, but she knows she has to find out. She comes up with an ingenious plan for spying on them and discovers their plot. She has to stop them – but can she get her sister dog, Rio, to help her or will Rio decide that sleep is more important? Follow along as these two pet detectives solve the first of many cases.

My thoughts:

Amber loves dogs and books about them, so she was looking forward to reading this. It’s a cute story that was easily read in one sitting. Penny learns not to pre-judge others, that just because he’s a cat doesn’t mean he’s bad. That’s a good lesson for all of us—cats aren’t necessarily bad. And, of course, not to judge others without getting to know them. The picture of the real Penny and Rio was a nice added touch. We’re looking forward to reading Penny and Rio’s next adventure, the Locked Doghouse Mystery, which comes out in August.

About the author:

Jennifer Swanson is committed to helping animals. In support of this goal, Jennifer donates a portion of her proceeds to a Jacksonville pet rescue organization, G.R.E.A.T. Rescue.  This organization rescues and rehabilitates golden retrievers and places them in their new and forever homes.   Jennifer has also recently teamed with Pawsitive Pets, an organization that takes dogs into schools to help children learn to read. You can visit her website at

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