Review: Miracle Dogs

Miracle Dogs
Miracle Dogs by Glenda Goertzen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think that my being a dog lover influenced my impression of this book, because overall I liked it more than I thought I would judging by its title. To me, the premise of the story and the way in which events are experienced through animals’ eyes is reminiscent of the book 101 Dalmatians. I thought that the author did a great job of imagining how dogs interpret human behaviour (their laughs as being similar to barks) and why they do the things that dogs do (bringing a muddy boot to “help” their human). I think that there’s a nice balance of quest and action, with the archetypal cat and dog animosity that shows itself in non-graphic fight scenes. The characters themselves are fun, especially the puppies (personally, Old Sam is my favourite).

Again, this story appealed to me because I am a dog lover and could appreciate the humorous take on dogs’ perspectives through which the story unfolds. However, the story’s tone, simple language and vocabulary, illustrations (too cutesy and somewhat anime-esque) and concept do speak to the younger readers of the grades 3 to 6 spectrum. While there are sprinklings of ideas (not judging a person by their exterior, for example), there’s not really thematic depth so much as light entertainment. Some of the scenes are a big exaggerated or fictionalized (that dogs would be able to easily get in and out of the museum, for instance), which I think suits youngsters but would annoy or be too cutesy for the older readers. I also found that the ending seemed a bit rushed with lose ends tied together hastily–the skunks’ sudden appearance and their moving to the farm house without issue, for instance.

I do think that there are other animal and/or dog stories that better achieve a balance of realism and fiction when it comes to portraying animals and/or dogs’ perspectives, and which offer more substantial story lines (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/817744.The_101_Dalmatians). However, I know that there are young dog lovers who would enjoy this cute, simple story.

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