Welcome to the Dogs Monthly Book Club. Each month we review our pick of the latest releases, with an opportunity to win for lucky readers! If you would like to enter the prize draw, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of the book you would like to receive in the subject line. Please remember to include your name and full address. Entries close 6 June 2019.
When We Were Warriors
Reviewed by Martha Cornish (aged 10)
When We Were Warriors is set in the summer of 1942 during the Second World War. The book tells three separate tales of three different children – Stanley, Olive and Velvet – who all meet the same American GI (Eddie).
In the first story, there is a Dachshund called Lobelia, who goes running off. In the second story, there is a terrier called Pixie, who scares away a German invasion. The third story has a huge variety of animals, including cats, hens, dogs, guinea pigs and a budgie.
The character I most closely resemble is Velvet from story three, because we both love animals, but my favourite character is Eddie. He is unusually kind and a tiny bit mysterious.
I wouldn’t have wanted to be a child during the war, due to the poor food quality. I would recommend this book to anybody who likes animals. I would have preferred it if there had been more dogs in the first story.
I think the second and third stories could have been true, but the first one had strange happenings, which I wouldn’t have believed if someone had told me about them.
Saying Goodbye to Barkley
Illustrated by Nicky Johnston
Reviewed by Megan Harding
Losing a beloved pet is hard enough when you’re an adult, but trying to help a child heal after their best friend’s passing can be a deeply emotional time for both parent and child.
Devon Sillett and Nicky Johnston’s new picture book, Saying Goodbye to Barkley, aims to help children cope with the loss of a beloved pet. The book features a little girl called Olivia and her sidekick, Barkley. This crime-fighting duo are inseparable until Barkley sadly dies and Olivia is left heartbroken. Over time, Olivia realises that Barkley wouldn’t want her to be unhappy for the rest of her life and she comes up with a clever plan to get her happiness back.
The book is short but heartwarming. Some of the thoughts and feelings Olivia has in her grief will no doubt resonate with anyone who has lost a pet. It does encourage adopting a new rescue dog, so I would only read this with your child if it is something you have decided on, but, on the whole, this book does help to bridge the gap between love and loss.
Nicky’s illustrations are incredibly poignant. Look very closely at the shadows for a familiar figure, because they stay with us – always.
Magical Pets: A Practical Guide
Reviewed by Megan Harding
If you could have any pet in the universe, what would you choose? Set in a world where imaginary pets are real, this book comes with an important message about understanding the needs of your firebreathing dragon, magical unicorn, vampire bunny or dancing frog. Because it’s always important to choose your pet wisely.
This colourful and fun picture book will give you lots of laughs as well as teaching an important lesson when it comes to owning any pet, whether from the real world or from another mystical dimension.
A humorous read, celebrating the special relationship between animals and their owners, which will leave young readers enchanted.
Hey Dog! Let’s Talk!
Illustrated by Sarah Hobbs
Reviewed by Hannah Wright
My children of various ages very much enjoyed this book and found it to be informative and fun. It tackles the important issue of keeping children safe around dogs in a way they can understand and engages with the learning instead of just being told what to do.
It covers the basic rules in easy-to-remember bitesize lessons that are not boring for the younger reader, while reassuring children who are not as comfortable around dogs how they can ‘speak’ to them and stay safe.
I would definitely recommend this book for younger children and their parents. My son has included his own mini review, as he really enjoyed reading it with me and his younger brother and sister…
“I think this is a good book for parents with children getting a dog for the first time. There are some really good tips in there and the pictures are really good.”
Danny and the Dream Dog
Illustrated by Howard Gray
Reviewed by Megan Harding
Lots of children want a pet to play with and care for, but it’s not always feasible for many families, particularly with both parents working out of the house for long periods of time.
But that’s not the end of it, as Danny, the boy who dreams about dogs every night, soon discovers. When an elderly neighbour with an exuberant dog moves in below, Danny’s mum comes up with an idea. Danny would become Max’s walker.
But Max isn’t like Danny’s dream dog. He’s a bit overexcited and doesn’t always behave, but as their relationship develops, Danny discovers Max’s true personality and their arrangement with the neighbour benefits everyone.
This story is based on some of the true partnerships occurring every day in the UK thanks to the Cinnamon Trust charity. Its network of volunteers helps keep thousands of owners and pets together by providing vital long-term support.