Barney the Boat Dog: Very Brave Dog by Linda Newbery

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Barney the Boat Dog: Very Brave Dog by Linda Newbery

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: An early reader which ticks all the necessary boxes and has a good story to boot. Definitely recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 96 Date: March 2011
Publisher: Usborne
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1409521983

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Not too long ago Jim, Annie and Barney lived in a house by the canal but after Annie died Jim didn't enjoy living in their house anymore, so he and Barney went to live on Jim's narrowboat. They moved around the canals as they wanted and really had quite a good time. There were one or two things which worried Barney but by far the worst was the very scary tunnel. It was long and dark and water dripped from the roof – and when Barney barked another dog barked back at him. But one day everything went wrong and Barney found himself in the tunnel all on his own.

Early readers are frequently not very exciting. They concentrate on getting all the elements right – short chapters give the emerging reader a real feeling of achievement as they finish each part. Pictures break up the text and even give a few clues as to what might be happening for those occasions when the vocabulary turns awkward. The vocabulary has to be challenging but not too difficult and by the time that all these needs have been fulfilled it's almost as though the story isn't really all that important.

But – this book is written by Linda Newbery. Of course it ticks all those boxes I've mentioned – you don't really need to be told that – but on top of that there is a really good story. I'm way above the target age group (upper middle age, if you must know…) and I couldn't put the book down until I found out what happened to Barney and that he and Jim were safely reunited. There's tension. There's drama and there's excitement. There's a warm heart to the story too – it's about misunderstandings and Jim and Barney just missing each other as they passed on different boats or took different roads to get to where they thought the other would be.

It's a delightful story which will appeal to boys and girls. It'll be reread and enjoyed and besides having the pleasure of a book under their belt the aspiring reader is going to realise that this reading lark is fun.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

For a very basic early reader we can recommend Where Are My Lambs? by Francesca Simon and Emily Bolam. For those moving on to chapters we enjoyed The Railway Rabbits: Fern and the Dancing Hare by Georgie Adams.

Buy Barney the Boat Dog: Very Brave Dog by Linda Newbery at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Barney the Boat Dog: Very Brave Dog by Linda Newbery at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Barney the Boat Dog: Very Brave Dog by Linda Newbery at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Barney the Boat Dog: Very Brave Dog by Linda Newbery at Amazon.com.


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