Smart Dog – Vivan Vande Velde

smart dog

Reading level: 5.8 (or earlier)

Genre: Good ol’ fiction

ELL-Friendly: Yes

Library recommendation: Middle school

Despite being rather juvenile and not written spectacularly well (not like I could write a better novel or anything), Smart Dog is fast-paced, funny, and intriguing. It’s definitely a book for younger readers or those who have a low reading level. I think it’s one that could get reluctant, struggling readers to like reading, though.

I’m assuming girls will gravitate more towards this book because the main character (Amy) is a girl, although her partner-in-crime is a boy. (Isn’t it annoying how you can predict if a book is a “girl” or “boy” book? In my classroom, I’ll push for all students to read a variety of literature despite students seeming to gravitate towards certain genres based on their genders.) This book deals with very realistic issues faced by that age group (upper elementary to middle school) of being unpopular and teased. It’s gratifying in that it’s got some well-deserved revenge at the end but the real lesson is about being a good, honest person.

Looks like there is another cover out there, but this is a picture of the cover I have, and I’ve always found it kind of…weird. Just look at the faces of some of the kids. What is even happening?! But who knows, maybe it will be intriguing to the students. It’s certainly different.


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