Thursday, August 12, 2021

Dog Squad

Grabenstein, Chris. Dog Squad
May 11th 2021 by Random House BFYR
Ohio Digital Library copy

Fred once had a good home with Susan, but when she got engaged, he ended up in a shelter, and then with Tony Bomboloni, who just wants to train him as a vicious guard dog and sell him for big money. Fred's one joy is watching the television show Dog Squad, starring Duke, Nala, and Scruffy as dogs who help fight injustice and save the day. When he runs afoul of Tony, however, he is kicked out. He runs into tough dogs Dozer and Petunia, and eventually ends up in a shelter. When he and a chihuahua put on a little dance, he comes to the attention of Jenny Yen and her niece Abby, who are looking for dogs with a bit of a spark to include in a Broadway production. Fred is thrilled to be chosen and meet his idol, but the play doesn't go as he hoped. Duke has broken a leg, and since Fred is a ringer for him, he goes to a grocery store opening posing as the Dog Squad member, and manages to save the day in more ways than one. He ends up standing in for Duke in a lot of episodes, and Jenny and the producers as pleased because he does a better job than Duke, who is fairly unpleasant most of the time. Another dog is added to the show, Tater Tot, and Fred mentors. When Duke breaks two more legs, it's decided that Fred will take over permanently. Duke doesn't like this, and enlists the Chow Cha-Cha to sabotage Fred's performances, and causes Fred's competence to be called into question. When the Dog Squad faces real danger, will Fred be able to save the day?
Strengths: My favorite thing is some of the philosophy that Fred learns, such as: FEAR can either stand for Forget Everything and Run or Face Everything and Rise, and there's a lot of talk (as the dogs have to do things that are scary, even if they are the film version of scary) about courage being doing what needs to be done even when one is afraid. Of course, Jenny and her Second Chance Ranch full of rescue dogs with special talents is fantastic. Fred's story is compelling, and there are a variety of interesting characters, both dogs and humans, in the story. I like the comparison to Bolt (2008), although I doubt that anyone remembers that movie anymore. 
Weaknesses: At first, I thought this would be something like Katt vs. Dogg, which just rubbed me the wrong way. I'm glad that this ended up being better than I expected! I was a little disappointed in the slight stereotyping around Tony. 
What I really think: Definitely purchasing, since this has a good mix of dogs, television production, and mystery. It's great that Fred is based on Grabenstein's own late dog, Fred, who came into his life because of a trainer who picked up strays for use in stage productions and then rehomes them! 

The 6th graders start today so they can learn about lockers, understand the cafeteria, and work with Where Everybody Belongs (W.E.B.) leaders on team building activities. The library is usually a stop on the scavenger hunt, and at least two classes are coming to check out books.

I would normally wear a jacket, but the heat index is supposed to be 105 tomorrow, and I expect it will be toasty even in the air-conditioned building.

$4 in this outfit- I won the necklaces, which is beads made from rolled up magazine pages. Want to say it was from From the Mixed-Up Files site, but not sure. They have a lot of fun content, so you should check them out!

1 comment:

  1. I like the outfit. Best wishes for you and the students this coming year.