Reviews for Guinea Dog

Booklist Reviews 2010 June #1
Jennings' salute to kids who get less (and more) than they ask for offers a unique and hilarious take on boy-dog bonding. Fifth-grader Rufus begs for a dog, but because Dad says no (in an enumerated list), Mom brings home a guinea pig. Rufus is disappointed, and Dad is annoyed, but because the pet shop has vanished, they are stuck with a rodent that barks, fetches sticks, whines, and licks faces. Rufus is both embarrassed (what will his friends think?) and charmed by Fido's doglike behaviors; the scale finally tips in the pig's direction when he executes a perfect, Lassie-like rescue of his master. As he did in Faith and the Electric Dogs (1996) and more recently in We Can't All Be Rattlesnakes (2009), Jennings injects magic realism into a story filled with believable yet flawed characters, resulting in a satisfying story. Short, manageable chapters; a breezy, conversational style; and identifiable characters (the bully, the show-off, the obsessive stay-at-home dad) make this a good choice for readers making the transition to chapter books. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Booklist Reviews 2014 September #1
The latest sequel to Guinea Dog (2010) finds Rufus vacationing at White Crappie Lake accompanied by best friend Murphy, pesty Lurena, rich bully Dmitri, and everyone's respective families. The pets--including Rufus' guinea dog Fido--are also along, so when new acquaintance Pablo recalls seeing a Petopia (the retailer where Fido was purchased), Rufus jumps at the chance to get a special guinea pig for Murphy. This new animal proves more otterlike than canine, however. Following a harried lake adventure--in which Dmitri reveals his true mean spirit--everyone agrees the new purchase, Snapper, is perfect for Pablo. A spin-off featuring Petopia is planned. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
Rufus wants a dog, but his work-at-home dad doesn't want to deal with dirt, noise, and fleas. As consolation, Rufus's mom buys him a guinea pig; surprisingly, Fido (the guinea pig) acts more canine than rodent, and little by little Dad accepts the new family member. The story is too thin, but Rufus is a likable character. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2015 Spring
In this third adventure featuring Rufus and his guinea-pig-who-acts-like-a-dog, Fido, Rufus's mom, going "beyond normal, everyday parental cluelessness," invites the families of Rufus's two archenemies on his family's annual camping trip. Rufus's funny voice and the likable characters' relatable predicaments will keep readers engaged in the thin story. This is an undemanding, diverting read.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 March #2
A humorous story about an unusual pet. Rufus has but one wish--a dog. His stay-at-home Dad does not agree. His list of reasons not to get a dog extends over two pages. Rufus's sympathetic mom brings home a guinea pig, which Rufus has expressly said he does not want. To his surprise, though, the guinea pig (which he sullenly names Fido) behaves like a dog! She obeys every command Rufus gives her, plays tug-o'-war and even chews shoes. His best friend wishes she were his when, during a Frisbee game, out of nowhere, she retrieves the disc an[Tue May 3 19:56:07 2016] Wide character in print at E:\websites\aquabrowser\IMCPL\app\site\ line 249. d brings it to Rufus. The family decides to return Fido to the pet store, but a classmate is willing to buy her to replace her hamster--and it's then that Rufus begins to have second thoughts. Jennings provides no explanation as to why Fido acts like a dog, asking readers to accept the absurdity along with Rufus. The school characters are fairly one dimensional, but the undeniably funny plot moves along, and readers into beginning chapter books should enjoy this wry story of wish fulfillment. (Animal fantasy. 7-9) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Kirkus Reviews 2014 June #2
It’s summer vacation, and in this third in the light-reading Guinea Dog series, Rufus’ and Murph’s families are taking their traditional trip to the lake, unusual guinea pigs included.Rufus is excited to share the experience with Fido, his guinea “dog” from Petopia, the store that disappeared as fast as it popped up. Unfortunately, his mom has also invited the families of Rufus’ nemesis, Dmitri, and a girl, Lurena. At least Lurena will be bringing Fido’s daughter, the guinea “squirrel.” Let the games begin! While swimming, Rufus nearly drowns Fido, who is only resuscitated after another camper, Pablo, offers advice. He joins their circle but, oddly, won’t swim. Murph saves Rufus from his dad’s grilled mushrooms (“Seriously?”) with a well-timed hot dog. Lurena turns out to be a loyal ally. Bully Dmitri’s behavior becomes so bad that even even-tempered Murph notices. Rufus narrates it all with his by-now-familiar, entertaining mix of preteen self-conscious self-involvement and dawning maturity. Murph and Dmitri are a bit one-dimensional, but in them, readers will easily recognize kids they love and love to hate, respectively. Pablo offers a nice counterpoint to Rufus’ hesitancy when he boldly confronts his self-imposed limits when pushed. Why? Because Petopia has popped up again, and Pablo is now the proud owner of a guinea “otter,” meaning Pablo must swim.Youngsters will eagerly jump in for another fast, fun read. (Animal fantasy. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2010 September

Gr 2-4--Fifth-grader Rufus's only wish is to get a dog, but his work-at-home dad objects. He lists numerous reasons, including that dogs lick people's faces, chase cars, and eat dead things. Rufus's mom brings home a guinea pig instead in an attempt to fulfill her son's desire for a pet. To his surprise, the guinea pig, which he names Fido, acts like a dog. She obeys his commands and chews his dad's shoes. When Rufus's family decides to return the animal to the pet store, a classmate is willing to buy her to replace her hamster. But Rufus begins to have second thoughts about relinquishing the guinea pig. Although no explanation is given for why Fido behaves like a dog, children will have no problem accepting the absurdity of the situation. Early chapter-book readers will enjoy this humorous tale.--Sarah Polace, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma, OH

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School Library Journal Reviews 2014 August

Gr 2-4--Rufus and his friends are on summer vacation when they meet Pedro, a boy afraid of swimming, whose new pet guinea pig (surprise, surprise) acts a bit odd--just like an otter, in fact. Another cute and laugh-out-loud entry in the series.

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