Elise and the Second-hand Dog by Bjarne Reuter and Kirsten Raagaard
|Elise and the Second-hand Dog by Bjarne Reuter and Kirsten Raagaard|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: An imaginative, and at times slightly surreal story of the relationship between a young girl and her talking dog.|
|Buy? maybe||Borrow? yes|
|Pages: 180||Date: April 2018|
|Publisher: Wacky Bee Books|
Whilst Elise's mum is away in the Amazon, building a bridge, she and her father are struggling to get along in her absence. Elise begs her father for a dog, for company, and in the end he agrees, though the dog that they get is most definitely second-hand, rather ugly, and smelly and, remarkably, he talks!
I wanted to like this story a lot more than I did. It had all the elements that I thought I'd enjoy, with a quirky child and a talking dog and a slightly mad, musical father. I'm not sure what the problem was, but for some reason it just didn't work for me. I read the book easily enough, and it was okay as a story, but I'm afraid I just can't bring myself to rave about it! I don't know if it was something about the unemotional Scandinavian style of the writing, or just that the whole thing was very odd, or that it didn't quite end properly for me. I could feel that it was supposed to be funny, and some moments were, but others fell flat for me.
What I did love were the illustrations. They're sweet drawings, with a dog who really isn't very attractive! They also sit well within the text, adding a little more interest for readers and giving a shape to some of the characters. I love the picture of Elise in Potifar's shop at the beginning of the book, as they discover the second-hand dog. I also liked that the pictures are sprinkled randomly throughout the book, so you never know when one will appear to please you on the turn of a page. The story is written as a chapter book, and as the chapters can stretch over several pages you need a reader who has a little staying-power with a book. There are plenty of difficult names and longer words, to challenge readers and keep them on their toes, and it would probably suit readers from about age 8 or so.
My recommendation would be to take a look in the library first, if you can, to get a flavour of the style. I'm sure some children will really take to it, but others with a more practical bent might find it a little too much.
Further reading suggestion: For more dog stories, take a look at The Bomber Dog by Megan Rix and One Dog And His Boy by Eva Ibbotson and Sharon Rentta
You can read more book reviews or buy Elise and the Second-hand Dog by Bjarne Reuter and Kirsten Raagaard at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Elise and the Second-hand Dog by Bjarne Reuter and Kirsten Raagaard at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.