Archie the Guide Dog Puppy: Hero in Training by Sam Hay

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Archie the Guide Dog Puppy: Hero in Training by Sam Hay

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A brilliant book about the puppies, dogs and people involved in training Guide Dogs. Intelligent, well-written and informative it's a great book for the seven plus age group - without an upper age limit.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 208 Date: October 2011
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0330537926

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I don't often pick up a non-fiction book for the 7+ age group, find it riveting reading and informative about a subject with which I'm already familiar, but that was the case with Archie: Hero in Training. Archie is a puppy destined to be a guide dog for a blind person and he's just one story in a book about the pups-in-training, the working dogs, the adults who have guide dogs, or struggle to learn the techniques - or even what happens to the dogs who don't turn out to be what's needed. There's a full range as well as information about what a guide dog costs - and it's not cheap!

Part of the reason why I couldn't put this book down was that it's not the least bit patronising. It's written for children (and occasionally about children) but it doesn't shirk some of the harsher realities, from the still-born pup to the attacks on a guide dog by another dog with irresponsible owners. There's an understanding of the effort that the dogs have to put into what they do - and that an equal effort will be required from their human. Some of the language is demanding and will need explanation - such as autistic or the names of disabilities which result in blindness, but it's all put in context in the book.

I was delighted to see that the approach was that people with blindness - or indeed any other disability - are simply other people who go to mainstream schools, play football and have a normal social life. It isn't spelled out - it's simply the natural attitude of the author. There's also a very matter-of-fact approach to the fact that puppies-in-training or guide dogs are not pets, no matter how attached to them people get. I did get a warm and fluffy feeling when I looked at the colour photos in the middle of the book though, but then I'm a softy about dogs.

I'd happily give this book to any seven year old. It's good, intelligent, informative reading. They'll learn a lot and extend their vocabulary - but I'd also recommend it as a useful introduction to guide dogs for any adult interested in the subject. Highly recommended.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag. Young people with an interest in pets will also enjoy Humphrey's World of Pets by Betty G Birney or for stories about less-fortunate dogs, you could have a look at Take Me Home: Tales of Battersea Dogs by Melissa Wareham.

Buy Archie the Guide Dog Puppy: Hero in Training by Sam Hay at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Archie the Guide Dog Puppy: Hero in Training by Sam Hay at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Archie the Guide Dog Puppy: Hero in Training by Sam Hay at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Archie the Guide Dog Puppy: Hero in Training by Sam Hay at Amazon.com.


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