The Great Dog Disaster (Companion to The Great Hamster Massacre) (one of The Great Critter Capers*), by Katie Davies (Simon and Schuster, 200 pp, 2013, $13, grades 3-7, ages 8-12)
Everything’s Big About Beatrice
Best friends in England, Anna and Suzanne, live next door to each other. When Suzanne inherits a dog from her great aunt Deidre, the girls are ecstatic, planning on training and fetch and fun and games like agility!
That is, until they meet old Beatrice, a big big black dog with big big problems.
Beatrice, Suzanne’s mom’s dead aunt Deidre’s dog, doesn’t like to move very much so the girls have to “lever her up” to go for the slow walks that she doesn’t like very much either.
Beatrice smells, has bad breath, abscesses, brown teeth and cavities. Beatrice smells and has sores so she has to wear an Elizabethan collar so she won’t make them worse by scratching. Beatrice smells and has lumps and bumps and matted fur in between the bald spots. Beatrice has arthritis and fleabites and. . . . Beatrice smells.
And with a big dog comes big poo, too.
Better than Diary of a Wimpy Kid!
. . . and not just because it’s about girls, rather than boys!
The Great Dog Disaster is similar to the Wimpy series except for location, main character, plot, style, theme, lessons learned – just about everything - but the two books are similar: both books are about kids (Anna and Suzanne are 9 years old) and both books have kid-type illustrations on every page.
Reading The Great Dog Disaster will turn your daughter (and son) into a vocabulary whiz, thanks to the “big word” definitions that are so much a part of the story, seemingly cut out of the dictionary and glued onto the pages – words like depression, disaster, and incontinent.
And the lists go on, oh my! Daily schedules and things to do for Beatrice and things to stock up on for Beatrice’s escape and plans and secrets and codes and locks and passwords.
Read About. . .
Attack ducks and wellies and Blu Tack and Spy Club and the truth about Barney. Find out why Beatrice is rejuvenated when the girls give her a bath.
And find out how Beatrice saves the day by saving someone and thereby saving herself!
PS - I think Big Beatrice is rather adorable – at least the drawings of her are cute (but then the book is rather small).
PPS – Although the book finally accelerates to the exciting climax, I didn’t want it to end (and I’m not even a 9 year-old girl)
*Other great critter capers: Great Animal Antics, The Great Cat Conspiracy, The Great Rabbit Rescue
Dog Evaluation (from a dog's point of view): This book is fiction. It takes place in a different country so it doesn’t have to be “right.” People don’t love Beatrice or treat her nicely, at least in the beginning when everyone makes fun of her, but everyone comes to love her in the end. Beatrice, however, still lives in the garage. . . .