Review: Secret of the Mountain Dog by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

secret of the mountain dog by elizabeth cody kimmel

The mysterious dog showed up at Jax’s door just when she needed an adventure. But adventure sometimes brings trouble–and dangers that even a great dog can’t help you escape.

In the Catskill Mountains, mystery is waiting….

Just when she needs it most, a little excitement comes to Jax’s mountain. First, a beautiful, giant dog stops at her door. Even though he has no collar, the Tibetan mastiff doesn’t act like a stray–and he seems to want to stay with Jax.

Then lights appear in the old, abandoned monastery up the mountain. The mastiff, who likes being called Mo-Mo, leads Jax to the mountaintop. There she meets a boy her age, Yeshi, who has come all the way from Tibet with his teacher to open the abandoned building–and to search for a long-lost statue, possibly hidden away in the monastery.

But someone else is searching for the statue, too, and when Jax’s adventure turns dangerous, she’ll have to count on her new friend, and the mysterious dog that’s found her, to get her back down the mountain safely.

Description taken from Goodreads.


This was my first title from Kimmel and I enjoyed it a lot. There were so many different themes that came into play in this book. Everything from religion to self discovery to reaching out to the world around you was explored. I thought that Jax was a really strong character and I loved the way that she was able to find herself through helping different people and exploring her own courage.

I also really liked the mulit-cultural aspects to SECRETS OF THE MOUNTAIN DOG. I thought that there were so many things that were so well taught in this story without weighing on the reader and taking over the story. It talks about Buddhism in a very realistic way while not being preachy and it doesn’t press it upon the characters or Jax herself.

Then there’s the dog, which I won’t even get started on.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. I didn’t like the theme of Jax disobeying her mom, but at the same time it could be argued that it was a good thing–and realistically, sometimes people do have to branch away from other in order to find something they knew they needed to find all along. It could be debated, but it’s definitely something that the person getting the book would have to think about. 3 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 208

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