What's That in Dog Years? by Ben Davis and Julia Christians
|What's That in Dog Years? by Ben Davis and Julia Christians|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: A heart-warming doggy story that is funny, silly and also very sad. Extremely readable; have a tissue at the ready!|
|Buy? yes||Borrow? yes|
|Pages: 304||Date: July 2019|
|Publisher: OUP Oxford|
|External links: Author's website|
George and Gizmo have been together ever since George was born. Gizmo has always been a fun, adventurous dog and a loyal friend, but just recently, George has noticed that he's starting to slow down a little. A visit to the vets leaves George worried that Gizmo might not be around for very much longer, and so he begins to write Gizmo a bucket list, of all the adventures that they can still have together in Gizmo's last days. But are they his last days? And who will help George to stay calm when Gizmo is gone?
You don't have to love dogs to enjoy this story, but I think it adds an extra layer of understanding, and emotion, if you have had, or still have doggies in your life. The story flows really well, and is easy to read. Most of the chapters are short enough to feel readable to those who aren't keen readers, whilst there are enough of them for it to also be a good sized book for a quick, confident reader too. I liked George as a character. He comes across as a nice kid. There's clearly some mysterious event in his past that has left him struggling with anxiety issues and panic attacks, and it's moving to see him struggling at school with the loss of his best human friend to a bunch of rougher boys who pick on George.
He's also dealing with family issues, since his parents have separated, and his dad has a new girlfriend. They don't have as much money as they used to, and George struggles with the arguments between his parents. Throughout, the depth of his relationship with his dog is very clear, and I really loved the idea of his bucket list for Gizmo which includes such delights as having an ice cream (as Gizmo's been put onto a special healthy diet) and get pampered!
Lib, who helps George with Gizmo's bucket list, is also a really good character, with her own complicated family issues to deal with too. I liked the way these kids had a lot of difficult things in their lives, but they still found the space to be kids, and to work together and enjoy each other's company. Gizmo plays his role too, as his point of view comes up in the story throughout the book. He's a little dog with a lot of character, and whilst the ultimate ending is expected, it's still emotional.
This is a lovely story, that manages to be both funny and silly, as well as gently touching on darker moments, and deep sadness. Although it's dealing with a lot of 'issues', it doesn't feel as if it's preaching, but rather just coming from a place of empathy. An emotional, but highly recommended read.
You can read more book reviews or buy What's That in Dog Years? by Ben Davis and Julia Christians at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy What's That in Dog Years? by Ben Davis and Julia Christians at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.