Dog Days: The Carver Chronicles, Book One

Overview

It's tough being the new kid at Carver Elementary. Gavin had lots of friends at his old school, but the kids here don't even know that he's pretty good at skateboarding, or how awesome he is at soccer. And when his classmate Richard comes over and the boys end up in trouble, not only does Gavin risk losing his one new friend, he has to take care of his great aunt Myrtle's horrible little dog as punishment.
To make matters worse, Gavin seems to have ...

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Overview

It's tough being the new kid at Carver Elementary. Gavin had lots of friends at his old school, but the kids here don't even know that he's pretty good at skateboarding, or how awesome he is at soccer. And when his classmate Richard comes over and the boys end up in trouble, not only does Gavin risk losing his one new friend, he has to take care of his great aunt Myrtle's horrible little dog as punishment.
To make matters worse, Gavin seems to have attracted the attention of the school bully. Will he be able to avoid getting pounded at the skate park? And how is he ever going to prove he's cool with a yappy little Pomeranian wearing a pink bow at his side?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/07/2013
English returns to Carver Elementary, the setting of her Nikka and Deja books, in this strong kickoff to her Carver Chronicles series. This time, the protagonist is new student Gavin, whose cool-kid potential (namely his basketball and skateboard skills) is undermined by his family. His parents don’t allow him to play “overly violent” video games, and his older sister, Danielle, calls him mortifying nicknames like Gavmeister. Both of these horrors are revealed when Gavin’s new friend, Richard, comes over, a visit that ends with the boys accidentally breaking Danielle’s prized snow globe. In order to pay back his sister, Gavin earns money by walking his great-aunt Myrtle’s cranky and extremely accessorized Pomeranian, Carlotta. English captures Gavin’s realistic frustrations on the home front and the social nuances of elementary school life as he struggles to fit in without compromising himself (“Gavin doesn’t know if he likes that Deja girl. She reminds him too much of his sister”). Freeman’s upbeat spot illustrations and English’s accessible storytelling target the book to emerging independent readers. Ages 6–9. Illustrator’s agent: Bernadette Szost, Portfolio Solutions. (Dec.)
From the Publisher

"English returns to Carver Elementary, the setting of her Nikka and Deja books, in this strong kickoff to her Carver Chronicles series. Freeman's upbeat spot illustrations and English's accessible storytelling target the book to emerging independent readers." 
Publishers Weekly

"Black-and-white spot illustrations break up the text and make this an accessible book for emerging chapter-book readers."
Booklist

"Chapter book readers have few options if they want to read about urban boys of color; here's hoping for more about Gavin and his friends."
The Horn Book Magazine

Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-02
A gentle voice and familiar pitfalls characterize this tale of a boy navigating the risky road to responsibility. Gavin is new to his neighborhood and Carver Elementary. He likes his new friend, Richard, and has a typically contentious relationship with his older sister, Danielle. When Gavin's desire to impress Richard sets off a disastrous chain of events, the boy struggles to evade responsibility for his actions. "After all, it isn't his fault that Danielle's snow globe got broken. Sure, he shouldn't have been in her room--but then, she shouldn't be keeping candy in her room to tempt him. Anybody would be tempted. Anybody!" opines Gavin once he learns the punishment for his crime. While Gavin has a charming Everyboy quality, and his aversion to Aunt Myrtle's yapping little dog rings true, little about Gavin distinguishes him from other trouble-prone protagonists. He is, regrettably, forgettable. Coretta Scott King Honor winner English (Francie, 1999) is a teacher whose storytelling usually benefits from her day job. Unfortunately, the pizzazz of classroom chaos is largely absent from this series opener. This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here's hoping English amps things up for subsequent volumes. (Fiction. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780544339125
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/28/2014
  • Series: Carver Chronicles Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Karen English is a Coretta Scott King Honor Award-winning author and a retired elementary school teacher. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Laura Freeman has illustrated several books for young readers. Her artwork has also appeared in publications such as the The New York Times and New York magazine. Laura grew up in New York City, and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and two children. To learn more, please visit www.lfreemanart.com.

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