Grk Down Under by Joshua Doder

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Grk Down Under by Joshua Doder

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: An eighth self-contained story for the dog called Grk and his owner, this time involving a hostage-taking criminal mastermind in Sydney.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: August 2010
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
ISBN: 978-1842709313

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If you'd ever wondered where speed and agility, and a huge appetite for going where he shouldn't and eating what he oughtn't can get a dog, you only have to turn to this book for evidence. I won't let on how a tiny dog manages to get himself to Australia unaided, but he does - leaving his human owners back in England, and young Tim Malt especially desperate for his return. But the dog called Grk is about to find out how dangerous and nasty Australians can be...

Any other books by this author I've read have had him called Josh Lacey and not Joshua Doder. This series is for a slightly younger audience, but on meeting Grk for the first time I was surprised at how wordy his books are. Gone are the huge font, copious blank page and filler pictures of other publishers. Instead there's a meaty amount of words - and all of them entertaining ones.

Looking back it might take some time for the story to fully get in the swing of things, as Grk's travels - enjoyable as they are - slowly build up to the real reason for Grk being in Australia. But throughout Doder/Lacey is brilliant at getting us inside the mind of the dog, without ever trying to make him too human.

That does perhaps mean that Grk himself is not able to do much in this story (and as I say, I don't know the first six books to compare) - as a title character it's noticeable how few chapters are from his point of view. But we also have Tim - missing Grk with the emotion and determination that all heroic boys should. The story easily survives the time zone jumps as we switch from Grk to Tim in England, and he and his friends lend the story its major selling point - the compelling momentum towards its very satisfying ending.

It's very much a full adventure for Tim - if not Grk - just as it is for the reader. With enough to perhaps inspire further interest in Australia for the under twelves, it is primarily a fast-flowing read, and an easibly recommendable one.

I must thank the kind people at Andersen Press for my review copy.

Younger readers just getting to grips with adult books will love Red Dog by Louis de Bernieres.

Buy Grk Down Under by Joshua Doder at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Grk Down Under by Joshua Doder at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Grk Down Under by Joshua Doder at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Grk Down Under by Joshua Doder at Amazon.com.

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