cover image Dog Diaries: A Middle School Story

Dog Diaries: A Middle School Story

James Patterson with Steven Butler, illus. by Richard Watson. Little, Brown/Patterson, $9.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-316-48748-1

In this series spinoff, narrator Junior, hound of the Middle School series’ Rafe Khatchadorian, typifies his exuberance and loquaciousness in his journal’s introduction: “If you hadn’t guessed already, I’m a dog. Yep... shiny-nosed... licky-tongued... floppy-eared.” Newly rescued, he is delighted with his new “pet human,” Rafe, who in Junior’s Doglish becomes “Ruff Catch-A-Doggy-Bone.” The clueless pup’s delusions stoke the story’s humor: he knows “there’s no nicer way for a human to be woken than with a paw-poke in the center of their forehead.” Similarly, sent to obedience school after causing a ruckus in the park, Junior is convinced he’ll ace the class, despite his inability to follow commands, and is outraged when he flunks (“Stop everything! The world has gone mad!”). Rather than being returned to the shelter for failing, as the teacher threatens, Junior finagles a way to enter the Debonair Dandy-Dog Show, with expectedly amusing results. Bolstered by Watson’s spry cartoons, Patterson and Butler’s rollicking story will catch—and hold—the attention of young readers, especially those of the dog-loving variety. Ages 7–12. [em](Dec.) [/em]