Dexter's well-ordered life is disrupted by his uneasy interactions with his spontaneous, even zany, fourth-grade teacher Mr. Ditzwinkle and by his mother's campaign for reelection to the town's school board.
When a local businessman and baseball coach disappears just before he is to portray Uncle Sam at the start of a Memorial Day race, ten-year-old Alex and his best friend Yasmeen investigate, despite their pact to stay away from mysteries.
"Young Mark Kelly and his brother and friends decide to build a rocket over the summer when their constant bickering starts to annoy their grandfather in this middle-grade novel based on the NASA astronauts' real childhoods"--
"Mark Kelly and his twin brother are back for more outer space adventure, this time fixing up an abandoned Apollo command module and taking off to rescue a Russian cosmonaut who is stranded in space"--
"Strudel, a homeless dachshund, loves listening to Jake read from Chief, Dog of the Old West at the animal shelter. When Jake decides to adopt him, Strudel vows to be as brave and loyal as Chief. Readers get a dog's eye view as Strudel narrates this story of a dog who needed a family, and a struggling family who needed a dog"--