Mystery May
Mystery of the Almost All Black Puppy

Mystery of the Almost All Black Puppy
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.74

     challenging words:    bustled, canine, consideration, distinctly, poodle, tuft, invest, exotic, worthy, breed, command, actually, perfectly, rushed, woman, wealth
     content words:    Black Chihuapoo

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Mystery of the Almost All Black Puppy
By Colleen Messina

1     Ms. Pearl was a bowling pin-shaped woman who dressed well. She had dainty feet, which didn't look capable of holding up her body, that she squeezed into designer shoes. Her small raisin eyes, set into a white puff-pastry complexion, narrowed into slits when she mused about money. She had a tuft of pale red curly hair that looked remarkably like a poodle's coat, which leads us to the point of our story.
2     Ms. Pearl loved poodles. After careful consideration, she decided to invest her bottomless pit of wealth into breeding exotic dogs. Her dream was to eventually create a new breed. Her goal was to make a pure black, curly-haired dog that had a poodle's coat and a Chihuahua's shape. She dreamed of calling this new dog a black Chihuapoo.
3     So Ms. Pearl set out to find pure black poodles and black Chihuahuas. She wanted poodles as black as midnight, without a single white hair anywhere on their bodies. This turned out to be harder than she thought. She often found black poodles, but they always had some flaw. One had some white hairs on its chin. Another had a gray hair or two on its tummy. Still others had tiny white hairs interspersed throughout their black, curly coats.
4     Ms. Pearl said that she would offer a great reward to the person who could bring her a pure black poodle. Many candidates came to her door; they were almost all black, but not completely. Ms. Pearl grew desperate. She twirled her faint red hair around and around on her fingers. How could she find perfectly black dogs for her project?
5     Ms. Pearl then decided to offer a generous sum to the person who could bring her a perfectly black poodle puppy. She had an army of lawyers at her command, and everyone in town knew it. She was confident that no one would bring her less than a perfectly black dog.
6     Not long after Ms. Pearl placed her ad, there was a knock at her door. Ms. Pearl bustled to answer it. Standing outside was a man holding an adorable puppy.
7     "I have a black poodle puppy for you, and I am interested in the reward," said the man. He looked slick and shiny. He looked perhaps a bit too slick.
8     "Come in," said Ms. Pearl.
9     The man followed Ms. Pearl. She walked through the house. The man gently carried the puppy, and they all ended up in the backyard. The lively little animal chewed on the man's fingers with razor-sharp teeth. Ouch! The man looked annoyed. He put the puppy down on the grass.

Paragraphs 10 to 19:
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