The Dog Squad is a page turning, heartwarming story of family, friendship and dogs. Including a diverse cast of characters it intertwines themes of pet ownership, puppy farming, abandoned pets and LGBTQ issues.
The Story: After budding journalist Eva rescues a whippet puppy Mum tells her that it can stay for one night but she must find out who owns it. Eva calls the dog Wafer and along with her best friends, Ash and Simone, tries to find his owner. The search leads them to the vet, the local shop, the school library and the local dogs home as they piece together Wafer’s story for publication in the school newspaper, The Newshound.
The Dog Squad introduces a wonderfully diverse cast of characters. Main character, Eva, the star reporter on The Newshound, is curious, compassionate and ambitious. She lives with her mum, her older brother, Wes, and her younger sister, Macy in a rented flat.
Eva has two close friends, Simone and Ash, a non-binary character whose identity is affirmed in a matter of fact way that younger children can understand. The trio have a strong relationship with Miss Kapoor (Meera), the school librarian who answers their questions and gives advice when they need it.
The search to unearth Wafer’s identity is not straightforward and leads the intrepid reporters to several dead ends. As Eva learns about an illegal whippet breeder and the conditions that some dogs are kept in she becomes reluctant to find Wafer’s owner. She can’t bear the thought of him living in a dog shelter but their landlord doesn’t allow them to keep pets…
The text is easy to read and we love the rules that Eva follows as she investigates a story. Wonderfully vibrant illustrations include so many adorable dogs, we love the way that this illustration shows the variety of dog breeds that live at the dog shelter, Wags and Whiskers.
Dog Squad comes to a satisfying end as Wafer… (Oops! We don’t want to spoil it for you!).
Clara weaves information about animal welfare and LGBTQ issues into The Dog Squad in a non didactic way which provides scope for a variety of discussions, discussions that can lead to more empathy and understanding. It’s amazing just how much topical information she has woven into such an entertaining mystery. We’re looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
Age Range: 7 +
Author / Illustrator: Clara Vulliamy