A review that originally ran in The Edge of the Forest:
Smart Dog by Vivian Vande Velde (Magic Carpet Books: October 2007, reissue)
Amy doesn’t have many friends, and is the easy target of the mean girl Kaitlyn. One day, walking to school, trying to time it so she arrives late enough to not make herself stand out and early enough so she’s not late, she meets a dog. This dog doesn’t do the normal doggy things, but instead asks very politely for help. A talking dog? It turns out that Sherlock is a science experiment from the local university and he escaped the lab to avoid having his brain dissected.
All Amy has to do is convince her parents to let her keep Sherlock and to keep him away from the graduate students who are trying to bring him back to the lab. However, with Sherlock’s helpful advice (plus the advantages of having an adorable dog) Amy is able to find the inner strength to make some friends and stand up to Kaitlyn once and for all.
Kaitlyn is the perfect mean girl, and their teacher, Sister Mary Grace is not the stereotypical nun, but rather the perfect balance of discipline and fun.
Smart Dog is honest and funny, veering into slapstick in areas. Middle grade girls will respond to the mean-girl drama and animal lovers are sure to fall for the lovable Sherlock.
Book Provided by... The Edge of the Forest, for review
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