Saturday, June 12, 2010

Smells Like Dog (MG)

Smells Like Dog. Suzanne Selfors. 2010. May 2010. Little, Brown Young Readers. 360 pages.

Dear Reader:
The following story is a dog story, but it is not, I repeat, NOT a sad dog story. I hate sad dog stories. I bet you do too. How many times have you picked up a book about a dog and just when you start to fall in love with the dog it falls down a well, or gets hit by a car, or somebody shoots it? Then you cry quietly in your bedroom because you don't know if the dog is going to live or die and it eats you up inside because there's nothing worse than not knowing if a dog is going to live or die.
First line paragraph chapter one:
What Homer Pudding didn't know on that breezy Sunday morning, as he carried a pail of fresh goat milk across the yard, was that his life was about to change. In a big way. What he did know was this: That the country sky was its usual eggshell blue, that the air was its usual springtime fresh, and that his chores were their usual boring, boring, boring. For how exciting can it be cleaning up after goats? And that's what Homer had done for most of his twelve years.
I loved this one. I really, really loved this one. It had me at hello, with its dear reader promise. Because look at the cover, don't you need to know that that dog is safe?! If it hadn't been for that promise, I probably wouldn't have read this one. Because I'm not the sort that trusts dog books. I'm not.

If ever a boy was in need of adventure it was Homer Pudding. Would you want to spend your life cleaning up after goats and doing other farm chores? Would you want your dad to tell you that the farm was going to be your responsibility one day? No. If you were Homer, you'd probably be dreaming up a better life too.

Homer spends his time dreaming about adventure. About treasure-hunting to be specific. He would just LOVE to have the kind of adventures his uncle has had. After his uncle's tragic--and oh-so-unusual death--Homer gets such a chance. And Homer's adventure begins quite simply with the arrival of a dog--his uncle's dog.

What I loved about this one was its quirkiness. The narration of this one is just right. It's got a bit of humor to it, but it has plenty of action and adventure and mystery. I loved the writing. I loved the characterization. I loved the pacing. I loved everything. Smells Like Dog would make a perfect read aloud choice.

Here's an example of the quirky humor:
Because the Pudding family always ate breakfast together at the kitchen table, it was the perfect place to share news and ask questions like, Whatcha gonna do at school today? or Who's gonna take a bath tonight? or Why is that dead squirrel on the table? (5)

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Bears Fan 8:07 AM  

This sounds right up our alley! My son might just get a kick out of this, (he is 13, we have goats, and we have boring farm chores)! lol thanks for the review, off to check this one out!!!

Lisa Schroeder 10:22 AM  

Oh, I really want to read this one. I love Suzanne! Thanks for the review, and am definitely going to pick this one up!!

Jessica (The Bluestocking Society) 12:24 AM  

I don't like sad dog books either. :( This one sounds extremely enjoyable. Thanks for the review.

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

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