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King & Kayla and the Case of the Secret Code

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Kayla and Mason both got mysterious letters, written in code. What does Kayla know? The same person left both letters. It's someone she and Mason both know. The two letters are the same, except for the second word. What does King know? Jillian left the letters. What do the letters say? Kayla and Mason both got mysterious letters, written in code. What does Kayla know? The same person left both letters. It's someone she and Mason both know. The two letters are the same, except for the second word. What does King know? Jillian left the letters. What do the letters say?


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Kayla and Mason both got mysterious letters, written in code. What does Kayla know? The same person left both letters. It's someone she and Mason both know. The two letters are the same, except for the second word. What does King know? Jillian left the letters. What do the letters say? Kayla and Mason both got mysterious letters, written in code. What does Kayla know? The same person left both letters. It's someone she and Mason both know. The two letters are the same, except for the second word. What does King know? Jillian left the letters. What do the letters say?

30 review for King & Kayla and the Case of the Secret Code

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Kotkin

    A chapter book series featuring a suburban African American girl and her dog who helps her solve simple mysteries. Each book contains a terrific demonstration of deductive reasoning as Kayla writes down what she knows about the case, what she doesn't know, and then makes a plan based on these facts. Kayla's human friends, Jillian and Mason, are Caucasian, though this is never mentioned in the text, which advances the idea that it is perfectly normal to have friends of different races. The full-c A chapter book series featuring a suburban African American girl and her dog who helps her solve simple mysteries. Each book contains a terrific demonstration of deductive reasoning as Kayla writes down what she knows about the case, what she doesn't know, and then makes a plan based on these facts. Kayla's human friends, Jillian and Mason, are Caucasian, though this is never mentioned in the text, which advances the idea that it is perfectly normal to have friends of different races. The full-color illustrations are a real treat and add a lot of personality to the story. In this second series installment, Kayla receives a note with a coded message. The code is cracked too easily and mostly by guesswork.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeannie

    What a great introduction to mysteries for young readers. Kayla and her friend Mason receive letters in code that they just can't read. (Isn't that what words like to young children before they learn to decode?) Poor King, Kayla's dog just wants a piece of cheese while he subtly offers hints to the identity of the sender, but no one seems to listen. Dori Hillestad Butler's book is a very creative and illustrator Nancy Meyers offers many visual clues. What a great introduction to mysteries for young readers. Kayla and her friend Mason receive letters in code that they just can't read. (Isn't that what words like to young children before they learn to decode?) Poor King, Kayla's dog just wants a piece of cheese while he subtly offers hints to the identity of the sender, but no one seems to listen. Dori Hillestad Butler's book is a very creative and illustrator Nancy Meyers offers many visual clues.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    I just love this early middle-grade series! Clever mystery, wonderful interplay of dog/human communication and miscommunication, and sweet illustrations. Can't wait for #3! I just love this early middle-grade series! Clever mystery, wonderful interplay of dog/human communication and miscommunication, and sweet illustrations. Can't wait for #3!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Beth P

    Entertaining, humorous, engaging--a must-have for primary classrooms and libraries.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Vohwinkel

    This quick read features a clever dog named King and his human, Kayla. The second in the series, this mystery centers on a strange letter left at Kayla's doorstep. King catches on quickly, and tries to clue the humans in. While they can't speak dog, they do put their brains together to crack the code and discover the letter's message. The author's choice to tell the story through the perspective of the dog lends humor and a unique voice that young readers will be excited to engage with. I would This quick read features a clever dog named King and his human, Kayla. The second in the series, this mystery centers on a strange letter left at Kayla's doorstep. King catches on quickly, and tries to clue the humans in. While they can't speak dog, they do put their brains together to crack the code and discover the letter's message. The author's choice to tell the story through the perspective of the dog lends humor and a unique voice that young readers will be excited to engage with. I would use this book with my students to make predictions about the story. I would pause after Kayla and Mason have discovered their letters, and ask students what they think will happen next. Challenging them to predict what the letter might say would engage their creativity and use of background knowledge. I'd also ask students to think about how the voice of King the dog makes the story more enjoyable for us as readers. How might the book be different if it were told from Kayla's perspective instead?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central Kayla and her friend Mason both get mysterious letters dropped off on their porches. King can figure out right away that the letter smells like oatmeal and like Kayla's friend Jillian, but when he tries to communicate this, Kayla just thinks he needs to go out. When she and Mason start to investigate the clues, they are able to decode the letters and figure out what King knew all along. This is a great introduction to one of my favorite word puzzles, the Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central Kayla and her friend Mason both get mysterious letters dropped off on their porches. King can figure out right away that the letter smells like oatmeal and like Kayla's friend Jillian, but when he tries to communicate this, Kayla just thinks he needs to go out. When she and Mason start to investigate the clues, they are able to decode the letters and figure out what King knew all along. This is a great introduction to one of my favorite word puzzles, the Cryptoquip! It's introduced in a way that's easy enough for younger readers to understand, and will no doubt inspire some coded messages, and maybe even a secret spy party. King's exuberance once again steals the show, and his shame at being called a "bad dog" is sad. Whether he's trying to behave himself or enthusing about his FAVORITE THING, his eyes tell the story very appealingly. Readers will find a lot of humor in King's antics while they enjoy helping Kayla solve the mystery. Hand this series to readers who have devoured Elliot's Owl Diaries, Haas' Bramble and Maggie series, and Potter's Piper Green books, or older titles like Adler's Cam Jansen or Sharmat's Nate the Great mysteries.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Ann

    This is the first book in the mystery series featuring Kayla and her golden retriever, King. I enjoyed the author's approach of first introducing the dog and later his human, Kayla. King is frustrated that he cannot communicate to his owner in words, so he uses actions to express himself. By the end of the tale, readers learn more about King's intelligence. Kayla and King answer the doorbell. No one is there but a letter has been left on the doorstep. When Kayla's friend Mason comes to visit, he This is the first book in the mystery series featuring Kayla and her golden retriever, King. I enjoyed the author's approach of first introducing the dog and later his human, Kayla. King is frustrated that he cannot communicate to his owner in words, so he uses actions to express himself. By the end of the tale, readers learn more about King's intelligence. Kayla and King answer the doorbell. No one is there but a letter has been left on the doorstep. When Kayla's friend Mason comes to visit, he reveals that he has received a letter as well. Neither of the friends can read the letter because it is written in secret code. Kayla and Nathan set out to decode the letters. They find that only the second word is different. King is sure he knows the author, but the humans don't understand what he is saying. A chance meeting with Jillian, who lives a few houses away may hold the key to the mystery. I would consider this book more of a chapter book than an easy reader. Children in second and third grade will better understand the nuances and messages of the plot. This book presents multicultural characters and interactive learning opportunities. Recommended for boys and girls in the seven to nine age range.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Bernard

    King and Kayla receive a mysterious letter. Inside the words are gibberish, but King knows who the letter came from. He makes every effort to tell Kayla, but she just doesn’t seem to get it. When their friend Mason stops by with a similar letter they sit down to figure out what they know and what steps to take next to break the code. With the help of King they get a clue from friend Jillian. Will the code be hard to crack? Author Dori Hillestad Butler has created an interactive story for kids. Yo King and Kayla receive a mysterious letter. Inside the words are gibberish, but King knows who the letter came from. He makes every effort to tell Kayla, but she just doesn’t seem to get it. When their friend Mason stops by with a similar letter they sit down to figure out what they know and what steps to take next to break the code. With the help of King they get a clue from friend Jillian. Will the code be hard to crack? Author Dori Hillestad Butler has created an interactive story for kids. Young readers transitioning from picture books to this early chapter book will find it easy to read and navigate. They will have fun figuring out the mystery themselves too. Parents and teachers can use this as a tool to create their own secret codes in the classroom or at home.

  9. 5 out of 5

    AMY

    This a really fun series for girls. It features a girl named Kayla and her dog named King. I love how the dog is always trying to tell his human (Kayla) things but she cannot understand him. It features lots of simple, everyday mysteries and a nice approach to solving them. It includes situations kids will relate to easily. There is a boy in the story, so even though it seems a bit girly I think boys might like it, too. In this particular book, a mysterious letter arrives at Kayla’s front door a This a really fun series for girls. It features a girl named Kayla and her dog named King. I love how the dog is always trying to tell his human (Kayla) things but she cannot understand him. It features lots of simple, everyday mysteries and a nice approach to solving them. It includes situations kids will relate to easily. There is a boy in the story, so even though it seems a bit girly I think boys might like it, too. In this particular book, a mysterious letter arrives at Kayla’s front door and she cannot read it because it is written in a secret code. She tries to figure out what it saying. It is a great transitional chapter book for Grades 2- 3. Highly recommended. Lots of humor and nice illustrations throughout.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cara

    This short, simple chapter book is perfect for independent readers who are moving on from beginning readers. The text is large, with wide margins and very short paragraphs or lines of dialogue. Cartoon pencil drawings with digital color are found on every spread. Readers are privy to King’s thoughts, although the humans in the story cannot understand what he tries to say; this confusion, along with King’s many expressions, adds humor to the book. The code is simple and the illustrations show how This short, simple chapter book is perfect for independent readers who are moving on from beginning readers. The text is large, with wide margins and very short paragraphs or lines of dialogue. Cartoon pencil drawings with digital color are found on every spread. Readers are privy to King’s thoughts, although the humans in the story cannot understand what he tries to say; this confusion, along with King’s many expressions, adds humor to the book. The code is simple and the illustrations show how it is deciphered. Budding detectives in grades 2-4 can attempt to solve the mystery alongside Kayla and King.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Erin Buhr

    King is a dog and Kayla is his human. This cute story is told through the eyes of King as he tries to help his human crack the code of a mysterious letter - and get some cheese. This book has likable characters, a slightly predictable but believable mystery plot, and a gentle dose of humor. The secret code is easy to replicate and something kids will enjoy trying out for themselves when they're done reading. I love this as an early introduction to mysteries for new readers. I also love that I ca King is a dog and Kayla is his human. This cute story is told through the eyes of King as he tries to help his human crack the code of a mysterious letter - and get some cheese. This book has likable characters, a slightly predictable but believable mystery plot, and a gentle dose of humor. The secret code is easy to replicate and something kids will enjoy trying out for themselves when they're done reading. I love this as an early introduction to mysteries for new readers. I also love that I can hand this to my early reader and know there are more in the series that they are bound to love when they're done.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    So much about this series that kids will love. King narrates and tries to get his human, Kayla, to understand what he wants, which in this book is cheese, to start with. But their morning is interrupted by the doorbell with a mysterious letter on the doormat. But the letter can't be deciphered! Kayla is on the case to try to figure out the code, although King is a few steps ahead. He knows who left the letter, thanks to his sense of smell. Kids will love this one. I'm sure they'll have fun trying So much about this series that kids will love. King narrates and tries to get his human, Kayla, to understand what he wants, which in this book is cheese, to start with. But their morning is interrupted by the doorbell with a mysterious letter on the doormat. But the letter can't be deciphered! Kayla is on the case to try to figure out the code, although King is a few steps ahead. He knows who left the letter, thanks to his sense of smell. Kids will love this one. I'm sure they'll have fun trying to figure out the code. And, of course, King is a lovable narrator.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    Kayla and Mason both receive strange letters that they can’t make any sense of. They have a mystery on their hands as they try to find out who sent the letters to them and what they say. King, all the while, with his doggie sense of smell, knows exactly who dropped the letters off and helps the kids to solve that part of the mystery. Then it’s up to the kids to figure out what their letters say. This was a humorous read as King tries to communicate with his human Kayla but is often misunderstood Kayla and Mason both receive strange letters that they can’t make any sense of. They have a mystery on their hands as they try to find out who sent the letters to them and what they say. King, all the while, with his doggie sense of smell, knows exactly who dropped the letters off and helps the kids to solve that part of the mystery. Then it’s up to the kids to figure out what their letters say. This was a humorous read as King tries to communicate with his human Kayla but is often misunderstood. There’s also some good problem solving and decoding done to figure out what the letters say.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    Very clever early chapter book where the reader is invited into the perspectives of both the humans (kids) and the pet dog (who talks to the reader). There is a mystery to be solved and a letter written in code- all favorites of 2nd and 3rd graders. The book is funny and well written with great illustrations on each page and text at 2nd grade reading level. Great to use as a discussion starter about communicating- how we communicate with animals and they with us, and how we interpret human commu Very clever early chapter book where the reader is invited into the perspectives of both the humans (kids) and the pet dog (who talks to the reader). There is a mystery to be solved and a letter written in code- all favorites of 2nd and 3rd graders. The book is funny and well written with great illustrations on each page and text at 2nd grade reading level. Great to use as a discussion starter about communicating- how we communicate with animals and they with us, and how we interpret human communication and sometimes have to spend some time to figure out it’s true meaning. Love it!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    In this delightful early chapter book, King and his person, Kayla, must solve the puzzle of a coded message left on their porch. But King, the dog, has a clue that Kayla does not, he knows, thanks to his talented nose, who dropped it off. But Kayla and her friend, Mason are puzzled. It's up to King to find the clues necessary to figure out the mystery. The short text and cute illustrations make this a great series for readers who are ready to move up to short chapter books. In this delightful early chapter book, King and his person, Kayla, must solve the puzzle of a coded message left on their porch. But King, the dog, has a clue that Kayla does not, he knows, thanks to his talented nose, who dropped it off. But Kayla and her friend, Mason are puzzled. It's up to King to find the clues necessary to figure out the mystery. The short text and cute illustrations make this a great series for readers who are ready to move up to short chapter books.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    King helps his human, Kayla, solve mysteries. In this case, Kayla gets a mystery note written in a secret code. King figures out who delivered it right away because of his excellent sense of smell. He tries to explain to Kayla, but she thinks he just wants to go outside. She ends up cracking the code along with a friend, and the mystery is solved. Right on the cusp of easy readers and chapter books. A good choice for kids who like mysteries and/or dogs.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Becky B

    Kayla finds a mysterious letter at the door after she and King hear a knock. But she can't read the gibberish in it. Who sent the letter and why? A nice introduction to codes and ciphers for littles. Kids will love King's sillyness, though he also makes some important observations for the case. Kayla's got a good head on her shoulders, which is important since she can't understand King. Highly recommended. Kayla finds a mysterious letter at the door after she and King hear a knock. But she can't read the gibberish in it. Who sent the letter and why? A nice introduction to codes and ciphers for littles. Kids will love King's sillyness, though he also makes some important observations for the case. Kayla's got a good head on her shoulders, which is important since she can't understand King. Highly recommended.

  18. 5 out of 5

    BiblioBickie

    Fun mystery involving a letter written with cut-out letters that do not make any sense. Kayla methodically works with her friend Mason to solve the mystery of who left the letter and what it means (they figure out it's in code). Meanwhile, King, Kayla's dog, tries to help, but the humans do not understand what he is trying to tell them. Good for ages 7-8 or younger more advanced readers. Fun mystery involving a letter written with cut-out letters that do not make any sense. Kayla methodically works with her friend Mason to solve the mystery of who left the letter and what it means (they figure out it's in code). Meanwhile, King, Kayla's dog, tries to help, but the humans do not understand what he is trying to tell them. Good for ages 7-8 or younger more advanced readers.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Boling

    1/5/2018 ~~ As with the others in the series, I love King's voice. He gets so frustrated when Kayla and her friends don't understand him. I also like Kayla's approach to solving problems - write ideas in a notebook. I do wish she'd had one more strategy for solving the mystery: What word do letters usually begin with? I know I'll have readers for this book in my elementary library. 1/5/2018 ~~ As with the others in the series, I love King's voice. He gets so frustrated when Kayla and her friends don't understand him. I also like Kayla's approach to solving problems - write ideas in a notebook. I do wish she'd had one more strategy for solving the mystery: What word do letters usually begin with? I know I'll have readers for this book in my elementary library.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Oh my gosh, this installment of King and Kayla made me laugh out loud as King is trying to get Kayla to understand he wants cheese! My dog loves cheese more than anything! This will be popular with kids and I predict many letters in code will be floating around afterward. Another fun book in the series. I think this may be my favorite so far!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    I love this series! This is my favorite one so far. I loved the introduction of a simple code that readers could absolutely use to create their own secret messages. Also, the miscommunication between King and Kayla regarding what he wants is continuously amusing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    Cute and fun, although I thought Kayla was a pretty clueless dog owner. King obviously wants cheese, girl! Frankly, Kayla is sort of a non-presence in this book. King is the star. He's the cute one and the smart one. What a good dog. Cute and fun, although I thought Kayla was a pretty clueless dog owner. King obviously wants cheese, girl! Frankly, Kayla is sort of a non-presence in this book. King is the star. He's the cute one and the smart one. What a good dog.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    A really fun read! Often books for young readers can be a bit formulaic and dull, but this is not the case for King & Kayla! I loved that King knew how to solve the case but wasn't able to communicate this to Kayla. This is a spectacular series for young readers ready for short chapter books. A really fun read! Often books for young readers can be a bit formulaic and dull, but this is not the case for King & Kayla! I loved that King knew how to solve the case but wasn't able to communicate this to Kayla. This is a spectacular series for young readers ready for short chapter books.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Izzy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really liked this book and the whole series but I didn’t really like how it always says the same things in all the books. For example, in the beginning of every book it says, “I am king. This is Kayla. She is my human” I like when they do that but I also find it sometimes weird.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    (4.5 stars)

  26. 4 out of 5

    MaryLibrarianOH

    Kayla (African American girl) and King (her dog) work to decipher a friend's coded letter. Kayla (African American girl) and King (her dog) work to decipher a friend's coded letter.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    A short, simple mystery for very beginning readers.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    Book 2 in the series is just as delightful as the first!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mandy Robek

    Discovered a new series today and I love how careful the plot is developed to help early readers.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Did not keep my interest. I prefer her "Buddy Files" for introduction to mysteries. Did not keep my interest. I prefer her "Buddy Files" for introduction to mysteries.

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