Review Blog

Aug 15 2014

My dog doesn't like me by Elizabeth Fensham

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University of Queensland Press, 2014. ISBN 9780702250170.
(Ages: 8+) Recommended. Dogs. Pets. Responsibility. Eric's dog does not like him, and he wants to do something about it. He feels rejected by the pet given to him by his family when he was eight, and since then the dog, Ugly, loves his Mum and Dad, and his grandfather even his sister, Gretchen. But not Eric, and as the tale unfolds, it becomes obvious why the dog does not like him. Many people give advice on how he should be treating the dog, but he pays little attention, preferring to blame the others in his family for his problem.
This is a wry tale, watching Eric make many attempts at getting Ugly to like him, from changing his name, to drawing up a questionnaire at school, to gathering other people's opinions of the problem, while all through the solution to the readers is obvious.
Eric's grandfather talks to Eric one day about the possibility of giving Ugly to a family which can really look after him, and this spurs Eric into action. His grandfather calls in a friend who trains dogs and the lessons she gives Eric change Eric and Ugly for the better, all the while, Eric realising that he is the problem not the dog.
For younger readers, the lessons about dog training spill over into Eric's life as he takes on more responsibility in the house where everyone is busy.
Fran Knight

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