Review by BRIGITTE ROZARIO
By Gordon Korman
Publisher: Scholastic Press
This book is for kids aged eight and older who love dogs. If your child has a pet dog, or is interested in dog shows, he or she will probably enjoy this book.
The story is about Griffin, a.k.a. The Man with the Plan, and his best friend Ben. Griffin's parents go on holiday and leave him to stay over at Ben's place.
The duo decide to watch a dog show in which their friend Savannah's Doberman pinscher (named Luthor) is participating.
This is one fierce dog who seems to hate the boys and won't listen to anyone, except Savannah. He is angelic for Savannah alone. She in turn positively dotes on Luthor.
At the dog show, Luthor suddenly goes crazy and jumps on the stage causing it to collapse and three-time champion beagle Electra to suffer injuries.
The beagle is unable to participate in this or future competitions. She was almost a shoo-in for any competition that she participates in.
While Savannah is still trying to figure out what happened, her family is slapped with a $7.8mil lawsuit by Electra's owner.
Savannah's parents decide that the best thing to do is for Savannah to give up Luthor as they try to figure out how to get $7.8mil. Luthor is put in the dog pound, despite Savannah's protests and tears.
She and her family then go on a long holiday to try and get her mind off her beloved Luthor.
This is where Griffin and Ben step in.
Knowing that nobody will adopt Luthor and that if he is not adopted, he would be put to sleep, Griffin comes up with a plan. He and Ben will take Luthor and train him so that he wins enough dog shows to make $7.8mil!
The only problem is Luthor refuses to listen to Ben or Griffin.
They decide to look up former dog whisperer Dmitri Trebezhov for help. They find him, but will the recluse come out of retirement to help them?
In the process of training Luthor and entering dog shows, Ben and Griffin also pick up clues to help them solve the puzzle of what happened to Luthor and who was really responsible for that day's catastrophic turn of events.
I liked that the dog hero of this book is a Doberman pinscher, and not one of the usual small and cute breeds.
I liked that there is a mystery for the boys to solve. The way they worked together and the fact that one of them always has a plan reminded me of Disney Junior's Phineas and Ferb cartoon.
Most of all, I liked how author Korman brings everyone together for the grand conclusion when the mystery is solved and everything ends nicely, short of a “they all lived happily ever after.”
What I was not crazy about was the length of the book. I did think it got a bit draggy somewhere in the middle. I thought the book could've been a bit shorter.
That said, I think kids will enjoy the book, especially those with pets.