Good Dog McTavish by Meg Rosoff

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Good Dog McTavish by Meg Rosoff

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A dyslexia-friendly book for the 8+ age group with a story they're going to love. As highly recommended as they come.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 112 Date: April 2017
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1781126837

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McTavish did wonder whether he was making a mistake in adopting the Peachey family: it was a decision which came from the heart rather than the head. You see the Peacheys were dysfunctional: Ma Peachey, an accountant by profession, decided that she was fed up with chasing around after an ungrateful family, so she resigned and dedicated herself to her yoga with half a hint that she might also dedicate herself to her yoga teacher. She gave up cooking, cleaning, baking, washing and all the other things which kept the family going, such as finding lost keys and getting people out of bed so that they got to wherever they were going on time. And the family? Well, they had no idea of how to cope, with one exception.

Pa Peachey was grumpy and (say it quietly) just a bit (well, a lot) unreasonable. Fourteen-year-old Ava thought that Ma Peachey's resignation would mean no more matriarchal oppression. She's into philosophy, you know. Twelve year-old Ollie relished the idea that there would be no more healthy food. It was eight-year-old Betty who realised the implications and as the family sunk deeper into the mire she was the one who saw a solution. The family would get a dog and so it was that McTavish came into their lives. The only thing was that they didn't realise that he had a plan for sorting them out. Well, he had several plans, actually.

Betty's the sort of child of whom people say that she's got an old head on young shoulders and I fell in love with her straight away. She's a thinker, but she knows that she needs an ally in the house. Pa, Ava and Ollie are helpless and hopeless; totally incapable of getting a meal on the table other than phoning for a takeaway and content to live in a mess. OK, it's funny to read about but poor Betty and poor McTavish!

Meg Rosoff has a talent for bringing a situation to life and allowing you to watch (unscathed) what happens from the sidelines. There's a moral in the story - you don't need to be helpless, whatever your age. Take responsibility for yourself (and others if necessary) and learn how to cook a decent meal, keep your surroundings tidy and organise yourself. She shows (or rather Betty does) that it's not difficult and there's even a recipe at the back of the book for a delicious chicken and rice meal. It doesn't say how many people it serves, but I'd guess three or four and you can have it ready in less time than it would take to get a takeaway. Forget whether or not it's healthy (there's soy sauce in the recipe so it might have more salt than some people would appreciate) it's definitely going to taste better than yet another pizza.

It's a funny story which doesn't patronise children either in the approach it takes or the words it uses. I think every eight year old should understand what a sociopath is. It's not delivered with a heavy hand, either: there's no sense of being told what you ought to be doing. You're simply gloating over the fact that you're not that bad. Brilliant stuff.

There's an advantage over and above the fact that this is a brilliant book too: it's from Barrington Stoke. That means that it's dyslexia friendly, with non-justified text, a very readable font and perfect spacing to make easy reading. It's of a good length for the eight+ age group too, unlike some of the tomes which children are expected to read nowadays. Forget whether or not they want to read a book of that length (and I do wonder sometimes) I worry about whether or not they're strong enough to hold the book for any length of time! There's no silly tinkering with the layout of the text which makes reading difficult for those who've not long got to grips with it. It's what books for the 8+ age group should be - well written, engaging and accessible. Bookbag has no hesitation in recommending it and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Mind you, we reckon that anything by Meg Rosoff has got to be worth a read.

Buy Good Dog McTavish by Meg Rosoff at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Good Dog McTavish by Meg Rosoff at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Good Dog McTavish by Meg Rosoff at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Good Dog McTavish by Meg Rosoff at Amazon.com.


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