Marley: A Dog Like No Other by John Grogan

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Marley: A Dog Like No Other by John Grogan

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: John Grogan had adapted his best selling Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog for the eight- to early teens age group. It's an easy and rewarding read covering everything from Marley coming home as a puppy to his death. Early teens who are reluctant readers should find this an accesible read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 208 Date: October 2007
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0007302529

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After the runaway success of Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog author John Grogan discovered that families were coming to readings of the book, that parents were reading parts of it to their children, perhaps censoring some of the parts which they felt unsuitable for young ears. The original book had not been written with children in mind and it was this which persuaded him to write Marley: A Dog Like No Other which is based on the original book but Grogan has reshaped it to make it more child friendly and removed the more adult content. There's also another book, Bad Dog, Marley! which is aimed at the three- to seven year olds. This review looks at Marley: A Dog Like No Other.

John and Jenny Grogan had been married for just a year when Marley came into their lives. He was eight weeks old and an adorable bundle of yellow fluff that grew into a one-dog demolition machine. The pure-bred Labrador Retriever was constantly in trouble when he destroyed furniture, crashed through doors, stole underwear or drooled on visitors to the house. If there was a wrong way to do it, Marley did it. He was even expelled from puppy training classes. He was, though, the most loyal of dogs and the Grogan's three children grew up with him constantly at their side.

For any child who loves dogs this will be a gem of a book. There are all the highs and lows of Marley's life, from his early rowdy and destructive days right through to his decline and eventual death. This jaded old reviewer cried buckets when he died, but that's just a relatively short part at the end of the book. It's handled sensitively, but without being mawkish and has been more than adequately balanced by the laughter earlier in the book. Being with a dog is fun and rewarding - the message is there loud and clear.

What I'm less sure about is the message which is given with regard to responsible dog ownership. John Grogan brought Marley home as an eight-week-old puppy, but he was on his own in the car and Marley was loose. Even if the pup didn't try to crawl onto his knee (he did) he's still going to be a distraction. It's also tempting to laugh at some of Marley's antics but out-of-control dogs are a nuisance. Out-of-control large dogs are dangerous and I would have liked more emphasis on this point, particularly for a young readership.

The book is well-written and I found it easy 'just to read a few more pages before I put it down'. It's well-pitched at its target market. Confident early readers will have no difficulties and reluctant readers in the eleven- to thirteen- age group should find it a rewarding and accesible read.

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

For a child interested in dogs we can also recommend Born to Run by Michael Morpurgo.

Buy Marley: A Dog Like No Other by John Grogan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Marley: A Dog Like No Other by John Grogan at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Marley: A Dog Like No Other by John Grogan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Marley: A Dog Like No Other by John Grogan at Amazon.com.


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