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Dog Days

by Becky Citra

Gramp is a card-playing fanatic and the proud owner of a cranky mutt named Grit. His grandson Brady, on the other hand, has a strong dislike of dogs. When Brady’s mom decides to move her family from the city to Gramp’s small town in order to care for him, Brady is none too pleased.

B.C. author Becky Citra isn’t the first children’s author to feature a dog-phobic protagonist in one of her books. Bill Wallace’s A Dog Called Kitty and Hilary McKay’s Dog Friday both successfully take this approach. But Citra has wisely aimed her story at a slightly younger audience and, as part of the Orca Young Reader series, delivers a good-natured and appropriately light story about facing fears and the importance of making an effort to understand personal differences. Citra is adept at crafting a seamless and energetic story within the vocabulary limitations of an early reader. She provides plenty of comedic situations and end-of-chapter high points to entice reluctant readers to keep going. Brady’s primary conflict resolves in an unexpected way, and while there are a few glossed-over loose ends, such as Gramp’s sudden ability to conquer his own fear of leaving his house, young readers will find this an engaging tale with a satisfying conclusion.