Saturday 4 August 2012

217. The Great Dog Disaster by Katie Davies

The Great Dog Disaster by Katie Davies
Published August 2012 Simon & Schuster

From the publisher:
Suzanne's Great-Great-Aunt Deidra has left her dog to Suzanne's Mum in her will. Suzanne is over-the-moon about having a dog again, after her old dog Barney was 'sent away to a farm' by her Dad. But when Beatrice the Newfoundland arrives, she is a BIG disappointment. She's smelly and old and miserable and doesn't like walks, or catching sticks, or any of the things that dogs are meant to like. So Anna and Suzanne devise a plan to turn Beatrice into a proper dog - but if they don't pull it off soon, Suzanne's Dad will send Beatrice away too...

Animal books are everywhere.  The thing I like about this animal book, is that it’s not too sweet and cutesy. Most animal books have super cute lovable creatures on the front that make you go…aaahhhh.  On the front of this book we have a big brown dog, with a plastic cone around his head.  That tells me this isn’t going to be the run of the mill animal story.

Anna and Suzanne are best friends.  They live next door to each other, right next door, as in their houses are attached and the walls are extremely thin.  This means that if ever there are raised voices in either house, Anna and Suzanne usually hear it!  When Anna hears raised voices in Suzanne’s house about a dog, she is very interested.  The girls have not had a dog to play with since Suzanne’s old dog Barney was sent to the farm.  The dog in question belonged to Suzanne’s great great Aunt, who had just died, and her dog Beatrice needs a new home.  When Beatrice arrives, she’s not quite what the girls expected.  She is very old, very old very smelly, and not the least bit interested in walks or fetching.

Anna and Suzanne, who really are the best of friends, have a falling out when Anna thinks she is spending too much time at the smelliest end of the dog, picking up poo, and using herself as a lever to get Beatrice up and moving.  Without Suzanne around Anna does a bit of research on Beatrice's symptoms, only to discover that Beatrice is depressed!  Now that that they know what the problem is, they can start to solve it...but what can you do to cheer up a depressed dog?

If you have read any of the other books in this series, The Great Hamster Massacre, The Great Rabbit Rescue and The Great Cat Conspiracy you would already be familiar with our main characters. The neighbours who pop up in the story are also great fun, like old Mr Tucker, who calls Anna's brother Tom, Basher and calls her Popsie and Mrs Rotherham, whose enormous underpants come in very useful!

With Beatrice's antics aside, the story is also about what it's like to be 9.  Best friends, secret clubs, fights with best friends, little brothers, bizarre swimming lessons and nagging parents. The book is fun, and has a scattering of illustrations throughout.  It also has a map at the front of the book, so you can picture where everyone lives...I am la big fan of a map in a book!

Who will like this book: Boys and Girls age 7+
Read it if you like: The Great Hamster Massacre by Nicola Davies

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