Good Dog by Dan Gemeinhart Review





Dan Gemeinhart has easily turned into one of the most sought after authors in our 5th grade classroom. My students have told me, "Mrs. Thomas, you can't read just one of Dan's books." And they are absolutely right. The first story of Dan's that I read was The Honest Truth. Which I listened to on audio. One thing I remember the most about this story is that I was listening every single spare second that I had the opportunity. I was hooked. The story was emotional, raw, and utterly amazing. I then moved on to Some Kind of Courage. Totally different style of story, but even still raw, emotional, honest, and amazing. Then Scar Island was released. Only knowing based off friends reviews and the Goodreads summary, I went in only knowing it was COMPLETELY different than the other two in terms of plot. I was literally BLOWN away. I had always been a huge Lord of the Flies fan, and this was definitely modern day Lord of the Flies, but with a connection that students could actually grasp and hold on to. Knowing all of this about his phenomenal writing. I knew I had to get my hands on Good Dog as soon as I could. Like I said, his writing is highly anticipated in our school by majority of students. Almost all 73 of my students have read Scar Island - which is amazing. Dan also so generously donated his time the last two years to my students to Skype and that is one that they still continuously talk about to this day. 

This year I have a ton of avid readers, not only are my students but I also have a lot of parents (dream, right?) - because of that, I wanted to give a mom/son duo the opportunity to review Good Dog from their perspective.  

Good Dog Review
By Ezekiel and Jeanette Tapley

Ezekiel (Zeke) and I are so honored that Ms Thomas asked us to read and review Good Dog together.
It was a lot of fun to read it and discuss. As a mother to three kids, Zeke being my oldest,
it gave us some quality time to talk and sit together with a purpose. So, I listed
some questions for us each to answer as an easy way to share our thoughts!

Describe the main character(s) in this story
MOM: The main character is a dog named Brodie. He is a kind and passionate dog that
loves his boy more than anything. He is serious about his mission and what he feels like
he needs to do to help his boy. He above all else is brave.

ZEKE: He has friends that join him in his mission: Tuck and Patsy. His boy’s name is Aiden. He
meets some other dogs along the way; Darkly and his gang of Hellhounds.

Who was your favorite.
ZEKE: My favorite character was probably Tuck because Tuck was funny from time to time.
But he’s also very brave and loyal. Some of his actions were unnecessary and some
were death-defying and that is why Tuck is my favorite.

MOM: Brodie was my favorite. He is just so likeable, fun and adventurous.

What was your favorite part of the story
ZEKE: My favorite part of the story is when Brody, Patsy, and Tuck are in the school
and Tuck stops when he sees a…. FRENCH FRY!!!!!! And he asks Patsy and she
explains how to eat as a ghost.

MOM: I think my favorite part is anytime Brodie finds courage. He starts out in the
book a little shy and unsure of himself, but he gains courage and confidence at every turn.

Was this book easy to read? Did you feel yourself getting lost in it?
MOM: I absolutely think this was an easy book to read. I read it just about everywhere
including the dentist office, and I can’t lie, I even started tearing up there while reading!

ZEKE: I kinda got a teensie lost in the beginning ‘cause not a lot was happening, but
other than that it was a blow through.

What has stuck with you from this book?
MOM: So we have a dog, her name is Bristol, and I really don’t know that I’ll ever
look at her the same way. She is so sweet and loyal to our family and I see so
much of Brodie in her. She is a good dog too! I also loved how Brodie called
“fetch” Away and Back. It makes so much sense and makes me giggle
when I think about it.

ZEKE: l think the part where Tuck distracted Darkly and the bloodhounds stuck with me.

What age is this book good for?
MOM: Well Zeke is 11 and I am 31. I really think it covered so much in different
ways for each of us. It had a few scary parts but nothing terrifying. I would
definitely let Zeke’s 9 yr old brother read it.
As a mom I would say 9 and up. There are some serious things, like abuse,
foster care, hellhounds, and big decisions that are being made, but
I think it made for good and open conversations.

Would you recommend this book to your friends?
MOM: I would. I think it’s a great book! I loved the focus on bravery, loyalty and friendship.

ZEKE: definitely (when it comes out of course).

Overall I think this book is phenomenal. Like I said before, parts of it have stuck with
me and I think of Brodie when I tell my dog that she’s a good dog. This book is
about friendship, loyalty, love and protection. These are things I try to teach
my kids daily. When these things are brought forth in story, and in ways
they can understand it...that’s what makes books magical!


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