I’ve always reviewed books for adults because that’s how I started when I was reviewing for my friend, Natasha, who edits the book pages of the The Sun, but as I am a teacher, a Specialist Leader in Education for English, received an MBE for improving reading in schools PLUS I absolutely love books it makes sense to review children’s books too. I generally read two children’s books per adult one and I like to read a wide range of books and feel passionate that all children see themselves in the books that they read! I’ve tried to combine the site into two sections but I don’t know if I’ve done it right 🙈 We shall see! The main thing is you’re here! Thanks for dropping by!

A Street Dog Named Pup

By Gill Lewis

Published by David Fickling Books

April 2021

First of all I would like to thank Rob Power at David Fickling for taking pity on an old lady and sending me a hard copy of this, I know people love reading from a screen but I am old school; I need to feel the book in my hand and smell the shiny newness of it!

I have to say that I knew I wanted to read this book as soon as I saw it: I love dogs! But I wondered if it would be sad & I’d end up crying and by the end of the first chapter, I had leaky eyes!

The story begins with the tale of The Great Sky Wolf. A story a mama dog will pass on to her puppies when they are first born. A story about how dogs become man’s best friend and how the bond of faith between them must never be broken.

Pup is loved and cherished by his little boy owner but the boy’s stepfather takes him out for a drive without the boy, and abandons him. Pup is literally just a puppy when he finds himself out on the street and discarded in ‘Dead Dog Alley’.

Bewildered, terrified & alone, it is there he is discovered by Frenchi, a French Bulldog with breathing problems, who takes Pup under his wing and introduces him to the other street dogs in the Railway Den they call their home.

The other street dogs are a motley crew of breeds and cross breeds, each with their own devastating story to tell about how they have ended up where they are.

Every chapter starts with a beautiful illustration, and each dog’s story is well written and detailed specifically to the type of dog through their eyes-Gill Lewis is a vet and her knowledge of dogs is clear as she writes their experiences. However, knowing about dogs is very different to loving them and her love of man’s (and women’s & children’s) best friend is clearly woven between each page.

The story continues with Pup getting bigger and adjusting to his new life with the gang, their camaraderie united by their common bond of abandonment, loyalty to each other, and their daily fight for survival, which includes trying to avoid a rival gang ‘The Sewer Dogs‘ and The Snatchers’ (the dog wardens).

They all dream of escaping the lives they have and running away to the beach. Running & doing zoomies among the dunes, splashing in the surf and feeling the wind in their ears and the sun on their back: safe from harm and together.

Despite this, Pup doesn’t lose sight of the fact that he wants to be reunited with his boy. And neither does the boy. Devastated that Pup has gone he retreats inside himself and vows to find his beloved dog again-honestly, it’s heartbreaking!

When reading this, it’s hard to believe that Pup could ever truly believe in the story of The Great Sky Wolf and the bond of faith that can never be broken, but he perseveres and, sometimes, life has a funny way of working out.

A superb story for dog lover’s everywhere, there are thousands of dogs in animal shelters and rescues in the UK, each with their own story to tell, I hope this gorgeous story will enable children to learn this, and perhaps encourage them to adopt a dog when they are older or persuade their parent or carer to adopt, rather than buy a puppy.

A wonderful story of friendship, loyalty & faith and the unbreakable bond between a dog and their human. 5🌟

I want to feature two books in my first review the first one is Mic Drop by Sharna Jackson. Illustrations by Wumzum & published by Knights Of.

I’d read the first book ‘The High Rise Mystery’ and absolutely loved it! Nik (11) & Norva (13) are sisters living on an estate in London: The Tri! When a murder occurs, they work together to piece together what happens. It’s a really current, energising murder mystery for young readers and what I love is that it features ‘normal’ people from lots of different cultures. I grew up in London and was an avid reader, being mixed race it was rare that I found a character like myself, that wasn’t a negative stereotype, and I’m so happy that this is slowly changing-it’s so important that children of all backgrounds & abilities see themselves represented between the pages!

I knew Mic Drop would be equally brilliant, the plot is full of suspense which kids will love and I particularly enjoyed how the dialogue is used. Without sounding like an old fogey, Sharna Jackson writes the dialogue the way that young kids speak in London, using street slang, she illustrates brilliantly life on an estate & is packed full of humour! 5⭐️

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